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Tip of the Month

2/28/2011 Fleas

Let’s face it almost everyone has heard of the dreaded flea. They are a menace and can cause you a lot of grief. If you don’t control your pets fleas they will end up in your home. They can also be extremely hard to get rid of if you don’t manage the situation right away.
Fleas are 1/8’ long, they can be dark reddish brown, or sometimes black in color. They are wingless, hard-bodied and have 3 pairs of legs which allow easy movement between the hair, fur or feathers of its host. They are excellent jumpers, leaping vertically up to 7” and horizontally up to 13”. Fleas can be found on pets and will eventually take up residence on a human if the problem persists.
Fleas pass through a complete life cycle consisting of egg, larva, pupa and adult. After a blood meal, a female flea will lay about 20 eggs per day. Eggs loosely laid in the hair coat drop out most anywhere especially where the host rests (carpets, rugs, furniture, kennels, sand, gravel, grass, baseboards, and floor cracks). Eggs hatch in 2-14 days into larvae. Most fleas winter in the larva or pupa stage with survival and growth best during warm, moist winters and spring. Newly emerged fleas live only about 1 week if a blood meal is not obtained. Your pet can pick up fleas anywhere (other animals, walking paths frequented by other animals, camping, dog parks, pet shops, pet grooming shops and day cares etc…).

Flea Control
Flea control is best achieved with a simultaneous, effort involving sanitation of your home, pet treatment and premise treatment (outside and around your home).

1. Locate heavily infested areas and concentrate efforts on these areas.
2. Vacuum furniture and carpets. Remove and vacuum under cushions and in cracks and crevices of furniture. Vacuum under furniture and all base boards. You can also purchase flea powder for the carpets and furniture form a local pet supply store or dog groomer.
3. Wash all bedding and blankets in hot water and soap.
4. Spray all bushes and grass in the yard. You can buy premise spray at a pet store or your veterinarian.
5. Continue to vacuum for 10-14 days to kill any newly emerged fleas.
6. Contact your veterinarian for the best treatment for your pet(s). You may choose to flea bath your pet every 7 days for 3-4 treatments with a shampoo that is designed to kill fleas. Consult your veterinarian for best results in accordance with the spot treatment you are using.
7. CATS-talk to your veterinarian before using any treatments on cats because some may be harmful.
8. There are many natural ways to treat fleas as well for those who are opposed to using chemical treatments. Some of these items include rosemary, peppermint, and orange oils sprays and shampoos. For more information contact your local pet grooming shop.

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