Take Steps Today to Fight Fleas Naturally This Spring

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Did you have a terrible flea problem last summer or fall? Do you think everything is OK now because you haven’t seen a flea in a few weeks and Fido or Fluffy is no longer scratching? Think again! Fleas are one of Mother Nature’s most adaptable little creatures, right up there with cockroaches. They are tiny, fast, and smarter than you might give them credit for. Somehow they seem to know when you are looking for them, so they move quickly into places where they are hard to see, such as into black or darker colored fur, armpits, or directly under the tail (seriously, how often do you lift that tail and look for fleas there?). Severe infestations are easy to spot, but it only takes a couple of fleas to literally have thousands of them in a matter of weeks.

Fleas tend to go dormant in the cold winter months. Dormant does not mean dead, however. They are still busy feeding and laying eggs. Those eggs and larvae are just waiting for warmer weather to burst into action!

Besides being annoying, fleas are disgusting little carriers of disease, including:

  • Dermatitis – Even just 3 or 4 fleas can give your dog or cat a nasty case of dermatitis. This is a skin condition that often results in hair loss, bald spots, red rashes, and open sores as your dog bites and chews his inflamed skin. Fleas carry potential allergens in their saliva and if your dog or cat is sensitive to these allergens, they can easily get this skin disease.
  • Tapeworms – You are grimacing right now just thinking about these, aren’t you? When dogs and cats bite and consume fleas they can get tapeworms, which lay their eggs on fleas and then live inside your pet. Tapeworms can be easily transferred to you. It only takes one infected flea to set off a tapeworm infestation.
  • Anemia – Some pets, especially young ones, become so infested with fleas that they cannot deal with the blood loss and become anemic.
  • Neurogenic Dermatitis – This is a behavior problem that can develop when pets become obsessed with licking and chewing their skin due to the itching from flea bites.

On top of all of the above, fleas are just plain nasty and annoying. One flea in your home in December can quickly become thousands of fleas by April. Read also how to tell if you have parasites and what to do about them.

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