Copyright © 2005. Bridget Mwape
Fleas are wingless, blood-sucking insects that feed on dog, cats, humans and other species. There are many types of flea, each one specific to the animal that it lives on. The most frequent fleas found in the home are the cat flea and dog flea.
THE FLEA PROBLEM
Fleas and ticks are responsible for a number of diseases in pets and people. Some types of ticks, for example, can transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease to animals and humans and some fleas can harbor tapeworm larvae, which grow into adult tapeworms in the intestines of pets or people. Flea bites commonly cause skin irritation and itching and some pets are allergic to flea saliva.
Taking care of your pets responsibly includes protecting them from fleas and ticks. Fleas can be a problem even in the best kept homes and on the cleanest of pets. The best approach to managing fleas is prevention. But if you already have a flea problem, you can control them as long as you treat both your pet and your home. Many products are available to help control fleas and ticks on pets and in their environment. Check with your veterinarian for appropriate treatments.
FLEA TREATMENT AND CONTROL
The objective of treatment is to break the flea life cycle by treating the home, the pets, and the outside environment with insecticide. Before purchasing and applying pesticide products to pets to control fleas and ticks, talk to your veterinarian about the best product to use and how to treat the animal, as well as the environment.
After feeding on your pet's blood the female flea lays eggs which drop into the animal's bedding or favourite resting place. The highest concentration of eggs, larvae and pupae are likely to be in these areas rather than on the animal itself. This means the vast majority of the flea population lives in your yard or home.
Regular cleaning of bedding combined with thorough vacuuming of furniture and floors will help to destroy each stage of the flea's life cycle. Frequently vacuum floors, upholstered furniture, and areas where pets may sleep indoors. Treat animal bedding by boiling, or use animal-safe insecticides or other products recommended by your vet.(Visit Pets and Domestic Animals Care to see what's available)
When treating the yard, don't forget to treat under bushes and in flower beds. If pets travel in the car, treat car seats and carpets as well.
You should continue to vacuum the house frequently and thoroughly.Throw away the dust bag (vacuum cleaner bags) from your vacuum after each use to prevent any flea eggs and larvae from developing. Don't allow pets to roam and pick up fleas from other animals and keep pets out of hard to clean areas.
PROFESSIONAL FLEA CONTROLOnce fleas are established, eliminating them requires persistence. If home treatments are ineffective, professional extermination may be needed. Further advice on methods of treatment can be obtained from the environmental health officer at your local council, or a commercial pest control company. You can also pay a visit to your veterinarian who will recommend services or products suitable to treat your pet and your home.
Visit Pets and Domestic Animals Care Dogs, Cats, Birds and more, which offers thousands of products to help you care for your pets.