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One flea, 350 bites per day

10 July 2016

Fleas are the most common ectoparasites of companion animals worldwide. More than just causing an irritating itch, these little bloodsuckers can cause serious skin infections and carry diseases that threaten pets’ lives.

For every flea you spot on your pet, you can be sure that there are many others in the area. Fleas are expert host-finders and can jump onto a new target with lightning speed as soon as they sense vibrations nearby. A single flea can bite the same host more than 350 times in the same day.

With the capacity to lay up to 50 eggs per day, in just nine months, fleas can propagate over a trillion descendants. The lifecycle of the flea can be completed in as little as two weeks as it develops from an egg, to larva, to pupa and finally into an adult. Once a pupa, a flea can lie dormant for over 6 months while waiting for the right environmental conditions.

Your pet’s fur, your carpets, bedding and garden can provide the perfect breeding ground for fleas. So it isn’t enough to simply bath your pet or comb their fur to rid your home of fleas. To completely make fleas vacate the premises, you’ll need to take evasive action throughout your home – starting with your pet.

Treatments

Flea collars, such as Seresto, work as a highly effective treatment and preventative measure. These collars eliminate fleas and larvae on your pet in 24 hours – providing almost immediate relief.  They also remain effective for up to eight months, which is convenient for pet owners who struggle to find the time for monthly application of treatments. 

If your pet doesn’t like to wear a collar, preventative spot-on treatments such as Advocate and Advantage are easy and effective options. The active ingredients in both Advocate and Advantage inhibits flea feeding within 3-5 minutes. Applying the treatment once a month is totally stress-free for your pet and can safeguard against a number of parasites, including fleas – ending their lifecycle in the process.

Home invasion

It’s vital to properly clean out your pet’s environment. Any bedding and carpets where your pet often lies will need extra attention. Vacuum and wash all bedding, rugs, blankets and soft furnishings. Also make sure you treat floor cracks in hardwood floors to ensure no flea eggs are left behind. In very severe cases, you may need to consider calling an exterminator.

Remember that after vacuuming, you must remove and dispose of the vacuum bag and its contents immediately.

Don’t forget the garden

Your garden can be a haven for pesky parasites, so it’s important to also keep it under control to prevent your pet from continuously bringing the problem inside again. Follow these simple guidelines to keep the fleas away:

  • Let the sun shine. Ticks and fleas like shady, moist areas. Prune trees and shrubs to allow more sunlight to enter your garden.
  • Keep it clean. Neatness counts when it comes to eliminating habitats for fleas and ticks to hide and lay eggs. Remove yard debris, such as piles of lumber, bricks and stones. Pick up discarded pots and other garden items; stack them neatly to limit refuge. At the end of the growing season, take time to clean up your garden, yard and storage areas under a deck or in a crawl space.
  • Check pet hang-outs. Fleas and tick larvae remain within 50 feet of your pet’s favourite resting areas. Clean and treat around any cool, shady spots your pet favours, such as spaces under decks or porches, beneath low-hanging shrubs or along fence lines. Also don’t forget to treat dog runs or kennels.
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