Creepy-crawlies got your pet? Tarry not! This is not just a problem of being itchy, fleas can be very dangerous, and they certainly won’t just ‘go away’ as some owners seems to think. If anything, they’re more likely to multiply and establish a nice flea colony on your pet and further infest your home and maybe even yourself.
Most people consider fleas innocuous creatures, probably because of their diminutive size. But they forget that it was fleas that were responsible for the spread of the Black Plague. Although unlikely to give you or your pet the plague, apart from causing a vastly annoying itch, fleas can be much more dangerous in other ways. The worst that could happen is that your pet could be allergic to flea saliva, in which case, they could experience intense itching, hair loss, scabs and reddened skin. Their eggs are also known to host parasites that could find their way to your pets stomach. That’s not the end of it. Fleas are known to consume up to 15 times their own weight in blood somehow, so if your pet has an infestation, that could spell trouble in the form of anemia and other related troubles, especially if you have a baby animal or a small pet.
It isn’t enough to just give your pet a bath, that is hardly going to get rid of the extremely resilient and well adapted pest. You’ll need to disinfect your pet and every corner of your house till you’ve made sure there’s no coming back for those pesky insects.
Firstly, to identify a flea ridden pest. It is a common myth that house pets cannot get fleas, or that only dogs can get them. House pets can certainly get fleas if you might have brought them into the house inadvertently, and all pets with fur are susceptible to fleas. Anything that they can suck blood from. Now, if you’ve noticed your pet scratching themselves or itching more than usual, check their fur. We’re not taking about a regular scratch behind the year, we mean an obsessive scratching repeatedly, and regularly. If you notice unexplained little bumps that may or may not itch, that look like insect bites then chances are that you either got them from your pet, or transmitted it to them. Look in your armpit area, or behind knees, inside elbows, basically folds of skin where they might go unnoticed. On your animal, check the area around the base of the tail, the stomach, ears, etc. Check for eggs, small specks of blood. Even if you don’t see a flea, brush them with a comb to make sure you haven’t missed any, just to make sure. Fleas are very fast and can jump surprisingly high, so catching one on your pet isn’t as easy as it sounds. Lie them down on a piece of paper and then brush through the fur with a fine toothed brush or a blow dryer, so all the particulate matter and any fleas fall on the paper. Look for suspicious looking flecks of dirt, which might be flea excreta, and small, white, round shapes that look like eggs.
Once you’ve ascertained whether your pet has fleas or not, you need to decide on a manic cleaning spree. Bathe the animal with a good flea shampoo and warm water, and wash diligently, make sure not to miss a spot. There is also medication and ointments available in the market, but make sure to consult the vet first. You can get them a flea collar, but that doesn’t necessarily work. Dog collars, for example, were recently proved to be ineffective, and the chemical used in them is actually poisonous for cats, so you have to be careful about details like that, especially in a multi-pet household.
Clean their bedding and any coverings such as blankets thoroughly. Dip in detergent and hot water, and dry it properly, preferably with heat, in the sun maybe. Fleas like moist places, so it needs to be dried completely before it can be used again. Vacuum around the house, every corner, every bit of furniture needs to be vacuumed, and then clean the bag out immediately. Carpets, curtains and the space under furniture especially needs to be vacuumed This is a well tested method and works really well, especially when it comes to sucking up all the eggs or larvae that may be hanging around that might just compound your problems. Use an insecticide, one that is certifiably safe for your pet, and spray the area around the bedding or cage and the carpets.
Do you have a vermin problem in your house, get rid of them and prevent them from ever coming back immediately. They might be the source of the fleas and are generally known to be disease carriers. If you take your pet out, make a note of which other animals your pet interacts with, the might be the source of the problem. If they’re pets too, politely inquire whether their pet has fleas, and if it does, you will, unfortunately, have to keep your pet away from them. If they don’t, warn them about your pet’s problems, so they know to watch out for fleas, and stay away from them anyway, You don’t want to go about giving other people’s animals fleas.