can we do about fleas on pets?
Questions and answers about
cats and dogs and fleas
To get rid of fleas on pets you first must find out where the fleas are
coming from! Kill the fleas, eggs and larvae at their source,
or make sure your dog avoids the flea infested area, and you have taken
the first step in flea eradication. Next, your veterinarian
has topical and oral medications that are very safe and effective in
killing fleas after they get on the dog or cat so
they cannot breed and create more fleas. Last, consult with a
professional exterminator to eradicate the fleas, eggs and larvae from
Our dog seems to always bite at his tail and tries
to lick and chew right where his tail meets his body. He has
little scabs and has shed his fur over his rump and it won't grow
We are treating for fleas and
only see a flea once in a while so it can't be from fleas.
What is going on with him?
what to do... how to eradicate |
Fleas are about the size of a
comma on a typed page. They are brown or copper colored and
scoot quickly across the skin. They have no wings so do not
fly but they sure can jump! Fleas need to be combated on
several fronts... where they live, where they breed, and where they
their dog and cat
Some dogs have FAD... Flea Allergy Dermatitis,
extreme allergic reaction to flea saliva that triggers severe itching
from the bite of even a single flea! If you see an
"occasional" flea think of all the fleas you aren't seeing because
these little critters can be very elusive. And even one flea
can set off an allergic reaction especially in the rear half of the
dog's body... see the image on the right of a chronic, untreated flea
bite allergic dermatitis. This is known as FAD (flea
FAD Flea Allergy Dermatitis
You can copy the info
below and much more by going to the HANDOUTS page here
Fleas are tiny
dark copper colored insects about the size of a pinhead. They
don’t have wings; they can hop and sometimes seem to disappear as you
attempt to grab them. They move very fast on the skin and are
perfectly designed to hide and move among the thousands of hairs on an
If your dog or
cat has fleas your first chore is to determine from where they
came. Because fleas can reside and hide just about anywhere
outdoors, especially where there are ground dwelling critters such as
squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, cats and dogs. Fleas can even
survive and prosper in homes with tile floors! They avoid
bright light… and without adequate light we won’t be able to see
them. In homes with carpeting there can be flea infestation
in rooms where the pet never goes because the fleas will attach to
shoes and clothing and become well distributed indoors.
image above-right displays pepper-like deposits of dried blood... this
"flea dirt" is the feces of fleas that are on your pet. If you
see 'flea dirt" your pet HAS FLEAS!
SOURCES OF THE FLEAS
The fleas you see on your dog or cat came from somewhere; you need to
do detective work and figure out where the fleas are hiding.
Typical sources are:
….. A kennel, dog park or neighbor’s dogs if your dog and their dog
…..Your yard. Fleas can survive in great numbers in sandy
areas, leaf piles, dense vegetation, in the grass under trees where
squirrels, mice, rabbits spend time.
…..In your home, especially in carpets, in the furniture fabric, in
bedding and blankets, in dusty areas of the basement.
…..Beneath your dog’s favorite bushes where he likes to do his daily
duty in private.
…..Along the route you take on your dog’s daily walks.
Start with a flea free dog, then do an inspection immediately after a
change of environment. When you see fleas you’ll know they
were picked up in the environment where the dog just spent time. Look
your dog over thoroughly in a well lit area by spreading the fur apart
and getting a peek at the skin surface. Part the hair over
the neck and back, check the tail and base of the tail, roll the dog
over quickly and see if you discover fleas heading for cover.
Fleas prefer the rear half of the dog’s body especially over the
rump. If you are certain there are no fleas on your dog, let
him outside in the yard. As soon as he comes inside do
another thorough inspection. No fleas are a good sign… if
fleas are seen, you know that at least one source of the fleas is your
Another example: Do a
thorough inspection and if no fleas are seen, go on your usual walk and
let the dog do all the usual nosing around. When you get home
immediately do another thorough inspection. If you see some
fleas, they were recently acquired along the walk. (Pick a
new route as you treat for fleas.)
Before you go to bed do a thorough exam for fleas. If none
are found, recheck the dog as soon as you get up
and before the dog goes outside to eliminate. If you find
fleas, they were acquired while the dog was sleeping and are present in
house even if “the dog never goes upstairs”.
Treating only a
few selected rooms will be unrewarding. Fleas, flea eggs and
flea larvae almost always are distributed throughout the house because
adult fleas attach to people’s clothes and then jump off when they feel
like it. There are do it yourself home and yard flea
treatments but if you take shortcuts or cut costs you’ll fail to solve
the flea problem. Best advice for in home flea
eradication… call a professional exterminator.
There are a
number of very effective flea control products that if the directions
are followed are safe and effective as a part of the total effort to
eliminate fleas. There are no safe and effective flea
repellants! All pet anti-flea products only kill fleas after
the flea is on the pet. Most work before the flea gets a
chance to bite but no product available today guarantees
total immediate flea kill of all fleas as soon as they alight on the
FLEA PREVENTION ON YOUR PET
Your veterinarian will be able to provide you with the proper flea control products. They are not all
the same. There are no flea preventatives applied to or on dogs
and cats that are 100% effective nor 100% safe. The preventatives
available are much safer than what was available just 20 years
ago. Some are applied to the skin where the pesticide is
dispersed within the skin's oil layer and a minimal amount gets into
the dog or cat systemicly. If you bathe your pet prior to
administering these topical products they won't work... read the directions!
Injected or orally administered pesticides, once administered, cannot
be nutralized or eliminated rapidly if the pet happens to have an
adverse stress caused by the chemical. You need to do your
homework; you need to assess the benefit vs risk probabilities, and you
MUST determine from where your pet acquires the fleas. Remember
this: All today's antiflea and tick products only work after the
parasite gets on the pet; they are not good repellants and do not work
at a distance from the parasites.
Even when you have properly assessed the environment and are certain
your pet no longer has fleas, keep checking. Then if you see a
flea on your pet the odds are it was very recently acquired. They
may have been acquired from the neighbor's dog, from the leaves along
the fenceline, from under that bush he usually hides when elminating on
his morning walk, or from your own back yard. If the preventative
has been properly applied, these recently acquired fleas will die, fall
off, and not be capable of reproducing and shedding hundreds of eggs in
your livingroom carpet!
seems to have patches of hair missing and even looks like small round
areas of fur have only a few hairs. She isn't
real itchy and shampooing isn't working. She's about 6 months
old and was like this when we got her. Is this mange?
Always read and follow
the product label instructions!
| Answer: mange... what is... demodex
You seem to be describing a
case of Demodex mites. See the microscopic view below. "Mange" isn't
very specific for what kind of mite is causing the skin
condition. "Mange" mites called demodex can be contracted
from the pup's mother even though she may show no signs of demodex
(called an asymptomatic carrier). Direct contact with another
mite infested dog is possible, too.
sarcoptic mites, called scabies, usually does not cause itchiness or
inflammation of the skin. Most cases of demodex are diagnosed
by a skin scraping and microscopic evaluation. There are
various therapies. The doctor may do a skin fungal culture,
too, to rule out "ringworm"... which is a confusing term because
"ringworm" is caused by a fungus.
Read the instructions!
The major reason topical
flea/tick preventative seems to fail is due to the owners bathing the
pet just prior to applying the product.
Many products work from within
the skin's oil layer; if you wash the oils off, then apply the
medication, it will not work!
Most topical products are not repellants, they kill fleas and ticks on
contact with skin oils that contain the medication.
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