If you're a pet parent, you'll know what a pest flea can be, and about the risks associated with flea infestations. From allergic reactions and anemia, to diseases and infections, fleas have the potential to cause far bigger problems than the odd scratch or two – and once they're in your home, they're incredibly difficult to get rid of. What are fleas, and how is it that they make us hopping mad when they're so tiny?
Ctenocephalides felis and Ctenocephalides canis, or cat and dog flea to you and I, are tiny insects that feed on your pets' blood, and reproduce just one to two days after a meal. Since the female flea is capable of laying some 50 eggs per day, it's easy to see how one or two of these bouncy insects can become an infestation incredibly quickly. In addition, fleas can survive for up to three weeks if the conditions are right, giving them plenty of time to feed, procreate, lay eggs, and hatch out young.
We bet that you're scratching just reading this article, so imagine how your dog or cat will feel when they are covered in fleas. Many dogs and cats are actually allergic to flea saliva, which comes into contact with their skin when the insects feed. Symptoms of flea dermatitis, including hair loss, rash, scabbing, and, in severe cases, anemia or respiratory issues, should never be taken lightly. If you notice that your pet is biting or licking their fur and skin, or showing signs of a flea allergy, be sure to get them checked by a veterinarian as soon as possible – and be prepared to treat your whole house with flea spray or powder.
Fleas are prominent during the summer months, and during the early autumn as the season changes and we begin to use our central heating again. Acting quickly and efficiently will save you a world of trouble.
For more information and advice pertaining to this tiny but pesky insect, please check out our Flea 101 article. From prevention and cure, to understanding why our pets attract fleas in the first place, this guide will stand you and your four-legged friends in good stead for the future.