Health Care and Fleas

Your Best Health Care: Health Care and Fleas

Health Care and Fleas

Sometimes
a dog just has to scratch. But people shouldn’t be doing the same, especially
if your dog has fleas, or if your home all of a sudden has an infestation of
those pesky little bugs. They seem to be everywhere once they show up, and it
feels like they multiply like…. Well, like fleas!
Fleas are small flightless insects that form the order
Siphonaptera. As external parasites of mammals and birds, they live by
consuming the blood of their hosts. Adults are up to about 3 mm long and
usually brown.
Covered
with microscopic hair and are compressed to allow for easy movement through
animal fur.
According to Orkin, the pest control company, adult fleas are parasites that draw
blood from a host. Larvae feed on organic debris, particularly the feces of
adult fleas, which contain undigested blood. Fleas commonly prefer to feed on
hairy animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, squirrels, rats, mice and other
domesticated or wild animals. Fleas do not have wings, although they are capable
of jumping long distances. Eggs are not attached to the host. Eggs will hatch
on the ground, in rugs, carpet, bedding, upholstery or cracks in the floor.
Most hatch within two days.
Fleas
depend on a blood meal from a host to survive, so most fleas are introduced
into the home via pets or other mammal hosts. Orkin reports that on some
occasions, fleas may become an inside problem when the host they previously fed
on is no longer around. Then fleas focus their feeding activity on other hosts
that reside inside the home. An example of such a situation is when a mouse
inside the home is trapped and removed, the fleas that previously fed on the
mouse are then forced to feed on pets or people. Much more detail on this issue
can be found at this site: http://www.orkin.com/other/fleas/
.
According
to this website, https://www.doyourownpestcontrol.com/fleas.htm
, most of the time, fleas prefer nonhuman source for feeding, but if
infestations are heavy, or when other hosts are not available, fleas will feed
on humans. Fleas usually require warm and humid conditions to develop. A flea
can jump 7 to 8 inches vertically and 14 to 16 inches horizontally with their long
and powerful legs. A skin reaction to a flea bite appears as a slightly raised
and red itchy spot. Sometimes these sores bleed.
Due to the
flea life cycle (complete metamorphosis) and feeding habits, many people don’t
realize they have a flea problem until they are away from their house for an
extended period. The flea problem is discovered, because the fleas get hungry
while the hosts (you and your pets) are away. When you return, they become
highly active because they are looking for food.
People tend
to think putting the pet outside will solve the flea problem, but that
typically makes the fleas turn to human hosts instead. There are several types
of fleas, but the most common is the cat flea, which also feeds on dogs and
humans. Fleas are attracted to body heat, movement, and exhaled carbon dioxide.
The best time to start a flea control program is in the late spring, prior to
an infestation, since adult fleas comprise only 5% of the total flea
population. To contain an active flea infestation, fleas must be controlled at
every stage.
When pet
owners are asked what they dread most about the summer months, the topic that
invariably comes up most is fleas! Fleas on dogs and cats! These small dark
brown insects prefer temperatures of 65-80 degrees and humidity levels of 75-85
percent — so for some areas of the country they are more than just a
“summer” problem.
How do you
know if fleas are causing all that itching – formally known as pruritus?
Generally, unlike the burrowing, microscopic Demodex or Scabies Mites, fleas
can be seen scurrying along the surface of the skin. Dark copper colored and
about the size of the head of a pin, fleas dislike light so looking for them
within furry areas and on the pet’s belly and inner thighs will provide your
best chances of spotting them.
A
lot of additional information about fleas and how to treat them is found at
this website: http://www.petmd.com/dog/care/evr_dg_fleas_on_dogs_and_what_you_can_do_about_them
.
Fleas are tiny, irritating insects, according to
HealthLine. Their bites are itchy and sometimes painful, and getting rid of
them is hard. Sometimes professional pest control treatment may be required. Fleas
reproduce quickly, especially if you have pets in the household. But even if
you don’t have pets, your yard can potentially play host to fleas, and you may
end up with a bunch of mysterious bites. For more details, visit this website: http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/flea-bites
.
According
to the University of Kentucky School of Entomology, if you neglect to treat the
pet’s environment (the premises), you will miss more than 90% of the developing
flea population — the eggs, larvae and pupae. If the pet spends time indoors,
the interior of the home should also be treated. Before
treatment, the pet owner should:
·        
Remove all toys, clothing, and
stored items from floors, under beds, and in closets. This step is essential so
that all areas will be accessible for treatment.
·        
Remove pet food and water dishes,
cover fish tanks, and disconnect their aerators.
·        
Wash, dry-clean or destroy all pet
bedding.
·        
Vacuum! —
vacuuming removes many of the eggs, larvae and pupae developing within the
home. Vacuuming also stimulates pre-adult fleas to emerge sooner from their
insecticide-resistant cocoons, thus hastening their contact with insecticide
residues in the carpet. By raising the nap of the carpet, vacuuming improves
the insecticide’s penetration down to the base of the carpet fibers where the
developing fleas live. Vacuum thoroughly, especially in areas where pets rest
or sleep. Don’t forget to vacuum along edges of rooms and beneath furniture, cushions,
beds, and throw rugs. After vacuuming, seal the vacuum bag in a garbage bag and
discard it in an outdoor trash container. 
It is
important that the pet be treated in conjunction with the premises, preferably
on the same day. Adult fleas spend virtually their entire life on the animal —
not in the carpet. Untreated pets will continue to be bothered by fleas. They
may also transport fleas in from outdoors, eventually overcoming the
effectiveness of the insecticide applied inside the home. Much more detailed
info on this subject is located here: https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/ef602
.
Both indoor and outdoor areas can be sprayed with
insecticides to eliminate fleas, if necessary. According to this website, http://www.petsandparasites.org/dog-owners/fleas/,
treatment of your home or yard is best performed by a trained pest control
expert. Consult with your veterinarian as to which flea products will break the
flea life cycle in the environment. Most flea problems can be managed by
treating and preventing fleas on your pet. It is important to keep in mind that
flea problems may be different from pet to pet or between households, and each
problem may require a special method of control.
See your veterinarian for advice on your specific
situation. Your veterinarian can recommend safe and effective products for
controlling fleas and can determine exactly what you need. Your veterinarian
can also determine whether you should consult with a pest control specialist
about treating your home and yard.
There are
both chemical and natural ways to treat fleas, and for those who are more
inclined to treat flea infestation naturally, fleas in the home can be easily
and effectively eradicated without the use of poisons.
The age-old scourge of fleas, usually associated with pet dogs or cats,
can affect any home. And while chemical-based flea treatments can be effective,
they may pose health hazards to occupants as well as pets. Natural and
non-toxic flea control methods, such as
Diatomaceous Earth, and electric flea traps, are safer options.
Surveys show that as many as 50% of American families report using some
kind of flea and tick control product on pets, exposing millions of children to
toxic chemicals on a daily basis. Initial research also shows that thousands of
pets may be sickened or die each year as a result of chronic low-dose exposure
to organophosphate-based insecticides through their flea and tick collars.
But while there are countless stories of pets, and even people, who have
suffered the ill effects of flea treatments, finding alternatives can be a
problem for most people. For a significant amount of information about natural
applications to treat an infestation of fleas, visit this website: http://eartheasy.com/live_natural_flea_control.html
.
Fleas are
a common problem if you have pets. Getting ahead of the problem with preventive
measures to kill and control fleas is the best way to avoid a much bigger issue
for both your pets and your family and home. Use quality products and have
regular veterinarian visits to make sure your pets and family are well and
remain free from this itchy, and sometimes dangerous,  situation.

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