Fleas are among the most common health problems of dogs and cats and accounts for more veterinary visits than anything else. In the long run, it is much easier and more cost-effective to prevent fleas on your pets than to have to treat a major infestation. Regular use of flea products will take care of the occasional flea your pet may encounter in the yard and should prevent you from having to spend large sums of money on foggers and exterminators.
Treating a bad flea infestation in your house usually costs upward of $500.00 or more, depending on the size of your home. Fleas will bite your pets, causing an itchy allergic reaction which can become quite severe. They carry viral and bacterial diseases. In small animals, especially puppies and kittens, the anemia they cause from feeding on the animal’s blood can be fatal. They also carry tapeworms. Tapeworm segments in the stool or around the rectal area look looks small grains of rice. If your dog or cat has fleas, chances are he has tapeworms—and vice versa.
Wildlife, as well as other dogs and cats, bring fleas into your yard. Pets and people can then bring the fleas into your home. Birds nesting in the attic or mice seeking shelter can also bring fleas into your house. Fleas also travel on their own, as much as a mile an hour. They will hop inside through an open window or door and are small enough to come through a window screen. Once inside your home, there is no place a flea cannot get to. Adult fleas spend most of their time on your pet. But, the remainder of the time they are roaming your house and laying eggs—thousands of them!
Fleas can usually be prevented by treating all pets, even if they do not go outdoors. This year has been a particular bad year for flea infestations. With the cold weather coming, flea eggs on your pet will hatch inside your home. In the winter, it is difficult to use foggers or sprays because you will not be able to properly air out your home. If you have had fleas in previous years, it is wise to spray some insecticide in the house as well, especially on the ground floor near doors and window (make sure to properly air out your home after the use of these products). This will kill the occasional flea that hops in on its own. Many flea products sold in grocery and discount stores are a waste of time and money. Some are even harmful to pets. Most compounds strong enough to be effective are sold only through veterinarians, who are properly trained in their use. Our veterinarian will discuss your flea prevention options.