Flee Fleas! How to Get Rid of Fleas

Fleas. Just the word makes your skin crawl. And while I know it’s uncomfortable, it’s time to talk about fleas because the warm weather brings these nuisance bugs out in force. Read this quick Q&A for the topline on protecting your pet.

Q. Is there just one kind of flea?

A. No. There are more than 2000 types of fleas. The most common type of flea in North America is the “cat flea” – it loves dogs and cats. Fleas are hearty too, they can reproduce rapidly and some can live as long as 12 months.

Q. Are fleas dangerous?

A. Some pets just suffer itching and discomfort when they have fleas. Others are actually allergic to flea bites and can have a severe skin reaction called Flea Allergy Dermatitis. Fleas also can transmit tapeworm. Anemia is another issue for some pets with large infestations because one flea can consume up to 15 times its body weight in blood.

Q. When is flea season?

A. Fleas like warm, humid environments so spring and summer are prime flea season throughout much of the U.S. In the bottom tier of states, fleas are a year-round problem.

Q. How can you tell if your pet has fleas?

Dirt left by fleas as seen on a white dog

Courtesy of Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic / Flickr

A. If you see these signs, check your pet for fleas carefully.

  • Excessive itching, scratching and biting skin
  • Small, quickly moving brown bugs on the pet’s body
  • “Flea dirt” or flea droppings on the skin
  • Scabs and hot spots
  • Hair loss

Note: some pets can have fleas but not itch or scratch. If you see flea dirt or strange residue on your pet’s skin or coat, check for fleas.

Q. How can I protect my pet from fleas?

A. The market is full of effective flea preventatives. There are specific flea prevention and treatment products for dogs and for cats. You should not use canine flea control products on cats and vice versa. Some canine flea control products are lethal to cats.

Start by talking with your pet’s veterinarian who will recommend the best flea control program for your pet and your environment. Some preventatives are available over-the-counter, others require a prescription. There are oral, topical, and collar options  – many are applied to your pet just monthly. Once you have a plan, stick with it to give your pet the best protection.

Q. How do you get rid of fleas on your pet?

A. Shampoos, sprays, and dips are available to treat pets that already have fleas. Again, talk to your veterinarian who can suggest the best remedy based on the severity of the situation and your pet’s condition.

Q. What do you do if you have fleas in your house?

A. Unfortunately, if your pet has fleas, there’s a good chance your house does too. Fleas can easily jump from one host to another and their eggs drop off your pet’s body on to your carpeting, couch, and bedding. If you have fleas in your home, clean your home thoroughly including all bedding, rugs, carpets, and upholstery. If you have a severe infestation, talk to your local pest control professional about a fogger or spray.

What’s your flea prevention plan for your pet? Do you like a particular product? Share your views by leaving a reply below. Alternatively, please leave ratings and reviews on any flea products available at VetRxDirect. Thank you.

Thanks for reading and good luck!


Get Your Pets Ready for Summer!

3 Steps to a Healthy Pet this Summer

I’ve got good news and bad news. First, the good: summer is almost here. Now the bad: it’s time to do battle with nasty pests and seasonal allergies on behalf of our pets.  Fortunately, we have everything you need to keep your cat and dog happy, healthy, and safe this summer.

Take these three steps now to get Fido or Fluffy ready for the summer:

Step 1: Protect from heartworms. Mosquitoes hatch in warm weather. They’re the most dangerous parasite for pets because they carry heartworm, which can be deadly. If your dog or cat isn’t on a year-round heartworm medication regimen, now is time to start. Many heartworm treatments also protect your pet from dangerous intestinal worms including whipworm, roundworm, and hookworm. Talk to your veterinarian about which medication is right for your pet then shop with us — we stock a wide range of heartworm medications.

Step 2: Fight fleas and ticks. The two most irritating pests—fleas and ticks – flourish in the summer. Flea bites not only make your pet miserable, they can transmit tapeworms.  And if your pet has a flea infestation, your home may be infested too and that is a huge nuisance.

Ticks may be a little less irritating than fleas (no less gross, though), but they’re more dangerous because they can transmit Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Ehrlichosis.

Prevention is your best defense when it comes to fleas and ticks. Look for broad- spectrum treatments that prevent fleas and ticks from getting on your pet, and kill all stages of existing fleas and ticks – both adults and immature forms. There are several new preventatives that combine medications with new, more convenient dosing processes. Be sure to get your vet’s recommendation first. Click here to see VetRxDirect’s flea and tick newsletter.

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Step 3: Treat allergies. It’s allergy season for humans and pets alike. Pets can develop allergic reactions to flea bites, grasses, pollen, mold, and even foods. How do you know if your pet has allergies? Look for symptoms including skin irritation, scratching, wheezing, and ear infections. We have a many oral and topical allergy treatments for dogs and cats. Talk to your vet about what treatment is best for your pet’s condition.

Here’s to a fun, healthy summer for you and your pet!