Fleas are small insects that live off blood from biting your pets. Only about 10% of adult fleas live on your animals, the other 90% can be found in your environment. Flea larvae can lie dormant for upwards of 6 months. A single flea can lay close to 6000 eggs in a lifetime. Fleas on your pet can cause a severe allergic reaction resulting in severe itching, self-grooming, and secondary bacterial infections. Fleas can also cause a tapeworm infestation and anemia in young and debilitated animals. Symptoms of fleas include seeing flea dirt (flea manure), flea bites on your own skin, excessive grooming or hair loss, and itching (especially around the tail base and thighs). Often the fleas themselves cannot be seen.
It is not enough to just treat your pet to completely eradicate fleas, it is necessary to treat your home as well. If there are fleas on your pet, there are fleas in your home. Dog fleas are dog fleas and cats are cat fleas. All pets of the same species must be treated with a flea product for at least three consecutive months. Foggers are safe to use in households with both cats and dogs. It requires 2 hours of evacuation from the house and 30 minutes of ventilation. It will kill adult fleas and larvae in the environment. The area spray can be used to kill fleas in hard-to-reach areas. All pets should be removed from the home prior to spraying until the area is dry.
In addition to using a household flea product to treat your home, it is helpful to thoroughly vacuum your entire home (including wood floors) as the vibration from the vacuum can stimulate dormant eggs to hatch. All bedding and upholstery should also be washed in hot water. Area sprays should be used in dark places where fleas are likely to hide such as under cushions, furniture, beds, in wood piles and between cracks in wooden floors and baseboards. Multiple treatments may be necessary depending on the severity of the infestation.
A preventative flea product should be used for all dogs and cats from at least April-November. Even indoor cats and dogs are capable of contracting fleas as the adults and eggs can be brought into the home on other animals, objects, and people. *DO NOT USE BIOSPOT, SEARGENTS, OR HARTZ PRODUCTS! These spot-on and shampoo/powder products do not work well and have been known to cause severe local reactions, tremors, seizures, and even death. These reactions can be especially severe in cats. Although some holistic products do have repellent properties they are often not enough to prevent and especially treat flea infestations.
It is always best to buy your flea products through a licensed veterinarian even though some products are sold over the counter. Not all flea infestations are the same and different products work on different stages of infestation. Always check closely for age and weight restrictions on all over the counter products. All products sold through Meadowlands Veterinary Hospital include a money-back guarantee from the manufacturer if used correctly and a flea infection occurs. If you are having trouble with fleas contact MVH at 201-646-2008 or www.meadowlandsvethospital.com for assistance treating your pet and your home.