Pets & Fleas
Fleas are a common occurrence, particularly in temperate climates. They can reproduce quickly, and can live and reproduce consistently for several months if a host is present. When that host is your dog or cat, a treatment protocol is imperative. When left untreated, just a few stray fleas can become a serious infestation within a matter of weeks.
But how do fleas even get on my dog or cat?
You might be asking yourself where these pesky critters are hiding, particularly if your pet resides mainly indoors. One common misconception is that fleas jump from host to host, which could set an infestation into motion simply by socializing with or passing another dog on the street. In reality, this is not how fleas are typically transmitted.
Where do fleas come from?
As long as a flea has access to blood, it can lay eggs. While you might not think of your home or yard as having free access to a living host, fleas aren't picky. They'll feed on mice, raccoons, opossums, foxes and deer, among many others.
Once they've experienced that first taste of blood, they lay eggs quickly - up to 50 a day. These eggs don't stay on their host; they have no grip and slide out of the hair and onto your favorite hiking trail, into your backyard or wherever a small warm-blooded animal may roam.
Once fleas emerge from the pupal stage, they're quickly on the hunt for a host; if they don't find one, they'll die within a week. But more often than not, another animal will quickly fall victim to the flea's quick reflexes and become a reproductive host.
A flea is highly sensitive to movement, grabbing on to whatever disturbs its hiding place, so if your pets have access to the yard, the trail or any place where pupa may be hatching, they're susceptible to picking up fleas.
The moment a flea gets a hold of your pet and has its first blood meal, it begins to lay eggs. Once back inside, the eggs drop off the coat and into areas of your home - your carpets, pet bedding, the sofa and more. At 50 eggs a day, a flea infestation can quickly ravage your home. And once it’s begun, it's difficult to control.
Why are fleas hard to control?
A flea's life cycle starts with an egg. The egg becomes a larva and then a pupa. It's at this stage that things can get a little weird, because depending on surrounding conditions, a pupa may grow into an adult very quickly - within a few weeks, or it may remain dormant for months.
It is estimated that more than 50% of the fleas in your home are in the egg stage at any given time. And another 40% - 45% are currently in the larval and pupal stages. That means for every five fleas you just found on your dog, 95 more are getting ready to find their breeding ground.
It's easy to see just how quickly a small flea problem can become an uncontrollable catastrophe. If even just a couple of fleas have the opportunity to bite your dog or cat, you can end up with hundreds of eggs in your home in a matter of days. Carpets, your pet’s bed, your own bed, the sofa and other areas where eggs can lay undisturbed become breeding grounds for fleas. Without intervention, it's a problem that can quickly spiral out of control.
What interventions are available for flea control?
Natural Flea Interventions
- Bathing with Dawn
- Vacuuming Regularly
- Use borate compounds
- Launder bedding & blankets frequently
Chemical Flea Interventions
- Flea Collars
- Oral Medications
- Area Treatments
Learn more about chemical
and natural flea interventions
How do I determine if my pet has fleas?
Check out this article.