Did you know that there are an estimated 2,000 species of fleas worldwide, with more than 300 types found in the U.S.? Fleas are the most prevalent parasite found on fur-bearing animals with our dogs and cats included.
We are writing a series about these fleas that most affect us in the United States:
What is a Dog Flea?
The dog flea is an ectoparasite which is a parasite that lives on the outside of its host. A dog flea lives on a wide variety of mammals, specifically the domestic dog and cat. It is a species of the flea family that It closely resembles the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis, which can live on a broader range of animals and is generally more prevalent worldwide. The dog flea is encountered less frequently than the cat flea and has not been studied as thoroughly.
Out of the estimated 2,000 species of fleas, approximately 94% of all flea species are reported to feed on mammals. These insects are known to vector the pathogens causing:
- murine typhus
- feline leukemia
Fleas love your dogs and cats too. The risk of fleas stays the same for puppies, senior dogs, or new dogs to the family. Fleas feed off your dog’s blood, and once they have found this tasty food source, they move in, reproduce and start their own families. Fleas are the number one skin parasite of dogs and cats, and you are fleas’ number one enemy.
Adult dog fleas are very small wingless, bilaterally compressed, and heavily chitinized.
How to tell if your dog has fleas
It can be difficult protecting your dog against a flea infestation. Fleas hitch rides on a dog during an evening neighborhood walk, doggy play dates, backyard business, and even through human contact. And while they may start with a sneak attack, an infestation produces telltale signs:
- Increased scratching, biting and licking
- Loss of fur
- Brown parasites observed jumping or crawling in fur
- Pale gums
- Red bumps or scabs
- Behavior changes, such as restlessness or nervousness
Treat your dog
Fighting a flea infestation on your dog can be emotional and a lot of work. It’s important to first treat the existing fleas. Fleas are annoying, stubborn, and determined to keep coming back. Here are some steps to take on your part to get rid of fleas on your dog and help reduce the risk of re-infestation.
- Use a fast-acting oral flea treatment
- Use a flea comb — dip a comb in a mixture of dish soap and water to kill remaining fleas on the comb
- Use a specially-formulated flea shampoo for bath time
- Treat your dog with a flea spray
- Use a flea preventive year-round
- Regularly inspect and comb to monitor a flea infestation on your dog
A critical component to help get rid of fleas on your dog – and even more importantly, discourage them from returning – is to use a flea preventive which can break the flea life cycle, be achieved through collars, topical or oral products, and can last anywhere from 30 days to 8 months. Talk with your Vet to discuss the best prevention method for you and your dog. Keep in mind that preventives work best when regularly used year-round; merely applying for one or two months can leave your dog unprotected.
Please let our team of professionals help you with fleas in your home and property. Don’t spend your valuable time dealing with things that we can handle for you. If you’re in any of the surrounding areas, give Proactive Pest Control a call at 770-800-PEST or 770-800-7378.
Choose Proactive Pest Control for professional, comprehensive, guaranteed pest, and lawn management. The pros at Proactive will work diligently to gain your trust, confidence, and your total satisfaction. CALL US TODAY at 770-800-PEST to schedule a free, no obligation inspection and evaluation for your home or business. Or, contact us for a FREE consultation. Let us show you why Proactive Pest Control is northeast Georgia’s first choice for pest, termite, and lawn services.