8 Common Myths About Fleas

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8 Common Myths About Fleas

flea-dog-4Myth #1:  There’s No Way my Pet Could Have Fleas

Fleas!  How can such a tiny, wingless insect wreak so much havoc on a home! These little parasites are persistent, for one thing. Fleas are blood sucking parasites you never want to encounter, but can become a reality for even the cleanest home with pets. Although fleas have been feasting on warm blooded animals for centuries, there are still a lot of myths surrounding these annoying little beasts.  The idea that there’s no way your pet could have fleas can be the first myth. No matter how careful you are or how clean you are, lets dispel the first myth right now.  All cats and dogs can get fleas!  Having recently went through a flea invasion with our dogs Beau and Boston, I felt compelled to debunk some of the common myths surrounding fleas and our pet homes.

Myth #2:  Only Pets Who Live Outside Get Fleas

So you have an indoor dog or cat, and you think you’re in the clear when it comes to fleas?  Au contraire mon frère! Strictly indoor pets and even a pet who only goes outside to take care of business can end up with fleas. While it is true that your pets risk of picking up fleas increases the more time they spend outside, in kennels or at play dates with their friends, these tiny little hitch hikers can still get into your home by clinging to your clothing, visitors clothing or other animals. Your yard can be a breeding ground for fleas and you can bring them indoors without a clue until it’s too late.

Myth #3:  Fleas Aren’t a Problem During Winter

Fleas do prefer warm and humid weather but your warm and cozy home provides the perfect environment for these little monsters to thrive in during the colder months. Freezing temperatures outside might kill some of them off but not the ones that are sheltered in tiny nests hidden in cracks and crevices in your home. Even if there are no hosts to feed on, fleas can live for 100 days and larvae stage fleas can become dormant. They’re just waiting around to emerge when conditions are right again. Flea infestations are a year-round problem, which is why year-round control is so important.

Myth #4:  Keeping My House Clean Prevents Fleas

One flea sneaks in and that’s all it takes for the invasion to begin. Even if you vacuum and scrub and have the cleanest of clean homes, they can still get in.  And once you have a flea infestation in your home, you won’t be able to clean quickly enough to keep up with the fast-multiplying insects.  These fertile pests can lay 40 to 50 eggs a day!  After a few weeks or months, that single flea can lay hundreds, even thousands, of eggs. Treat all your furry pets.  As the old saying goes:  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Save yourself the frustration and ask your vet for a safe, effective, flea-control product to help prevent infestations in the first place.

Myth #5:  Fleas Only Live in Carpeting

Flea larvae, eggs and pupae can hide anywhere in your home: bedding, your clothing, furniture, baseboards, just for starters. Fertility is never a problem for fleas and they will lay eggs anywhere.  It doesn’t matter if you’re carpet-free, although that does make it easier when de-bugging your home.

Myth #6:  The Fleas Are Off My Pet, Problem Is Solved

Hold your horses.  Adult fleas that feed on animals are only 5 percent of the problem. The other 95 percent of the fleas that invade are in other life stages: eggs, larvae and pupae. You have to get rid of them too. And they’re not so easy to find. There are a multitude of products available and some target adult fleas, others target fleas in different life stages. Ask your veterinarian for a safe and effective product that will kill all the fleas. Eliminating the infestation may take more than just a single application or dose. Depending on the severity of the infestation, you might also want to call an exterminator or treat your yard. Year-round control helps break the flea life cycle and prevent an infestation. There are natural and organic options available, chose a proven method that is right for you and your home.

Myth #7:  No Scratching = No Fleas

Although scratching is the #1 sign of fleas in cats and dogs, even if your pet is not itching, biting or chewing at his skin excessively, he could still have fleas. And itchy skin isn’t the only concern: Fleas can pass on other parasites and diseases like tapeworm and cat scratch disease.

Myth #8:  Garlic Will Keep Fleas Away

There’s no scientific evidence that garlic will control fleas on pets. In truth, feeding your cat or dog garlic can be toxic. Garlic can damage red blood cells, potentially leading to life-threatening anemia if ingested in large quantities. You and your pet will be much better off getting a flea-control product from your veterinarian.

The most important thing an owner can do to protect a pet against fleas is prevent them, says Dr. Michael Dryden, professor of veterinary parasitology at Kansas State University and one of the leading experts on fleas. “By the time an owner notices fleas, it is essentially too late for the animal. The flea life cycle is already occurring, and infestation and disease are already there.” A flea infestation is not something any pet or person should have to suffer through. Prevent one from happening by asking your veterinarian for a safe and effective flea-control product and using it as recommended.

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