Tips for Preventing and Dealing with Spring’s Unwelcome Guests: Fleas

No doubt that we’re all excited that spring has finally sprung here in New England! However, along with the warmer weather, which leads to more wonderful outdoor time, can come a host of issues for pets and their owners – namely fleas.

Think Prevention to Avoid a Veritable Flea Circus

    • Fleas can cause a lot of irritation for your pet and a whole lot of grief for you if your home becomes infested, which is why it’s important to think about prevention. It can be very difficult to get rid of fleas once they have infested your home, so prevention really is key.
    • Fleas and their excrement are the number one allergens for dogs and cats and can cause severe skin disease. Fleas can also be dangerous to your pet’s health and your health. They carry several diseases, including tapeworms, cat scratch disease (Bartonella), murine typhus, and the bubonic plague.
    • Fleas usually hatch when temperatures reach above 70 degrees, but they potentially can live in a dormant pupae stage all winter long, waiting for temperatures to warm up. So, if you had an infestation last year, there could be unwelcome fleas still lingering about.

Tips for Flea Prevention

  • Pay attention to where your pets hang out – inside and outside – it’s likely that you’ll notice if there are fleas hanging around.
  • Bathe and comb/brush your pets regularly, especially if they spend lots of time rolling around on the ground.
  • Check in between their toes and their ears for any black debris (flea dirt) or actual fleas.
  • Vacuum areas of the home that pets have access to on a very regular basis.
  • Use cotton sheets on soft surfaces where pets sleep and wash them in hot water weekly.

Medical Options for Flea Prevention

You may have noticed that flea collars have fallen out of vogue because many people feel they can be toxic to pets and those who come in contact with them. Today, there are a couple of different medical options to help prevent fleas, including monthly oral medications or liquid topical medications. Talk to your vet to find out which prevention methods are best for your dog.

If you see any signs of fleas, talk to your vet and seek treatment immediately!

The Dreaded Infestation

If your pet has already had an encounter with fleas and has been in the house, chances are, there are fleas in your home. If this is case, you will likely need to invest in specialized flea-killing shampoos or have the pet treated by a vet.

If your pet has gotten fleas, you need to make sure that get rid of the little pests hiding around the house. Fleas love to live in warm, dark places, which other than your pet, can include bedding, rugs, and cracks in the floor. If you have an infestation, you may need to hire an exterminator to get rid of the unwelcome pests. Or, ask your vet about safe household insecticides. Make sure you wash all rugs and bedding with which your pets have come in contact. If you use your vacuum, make sure to clean it afterward.

As always, we are here for you and your pets! Willard Veterinary Clinic can help you to determine the best flea prevention or flea control program, depending on what kind of pets you have.

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