You’ve seen them. You’ve heard about them. Perhaps this year, you are even suffering through them. FLEAS! Fleas are the dreaded menace of many a pet owner. For some reason, fleas cause more issues with our owners (and the comfort of their pets) than any other parasite combined. Even though we talk about ticks and intestinal parasites and even heartworms….fleas are the ones that get everyone itching.
Yes, we’re having a bad flea season. Yes, it does appear to be worse than last year. Yes, your dog/cat that has never had fleas before and/or ever had any issues, is having a problem now. Especially now. It’s getting cooler, the air is drier, there hasn’t been rain in a while. The fleas are healthy, happy and looking forward to moving in and spending the cooler months IN YOUR HOUSE!
So, I’d like to take a moment and discuss with everyone what you can do about this…and moreso what needs to happen when you see a flea on your pet.
Here are some of the things we have heard from clients recently:
a) “He’s itching constantly, but I’m not seeing fleas” This is a valid observation, as many dogs (and cats) have environmental allergies and the trees/leaves/dying grasses can make your pets itchy, too. Bathe them (primarily the dogs!) and see how they do. If no improvement, or only temporary relief, bring them by, so we can make sure there aren’t any fleas…for some animals, the bite of one flea is enough to get them scratching
b) “I only saw one flea…surely I don’t have a problem” While this MAY be the case (he just walked under a bush and brought a flea into the house) if he is scratching AND you saw one flea…especiallly IN your house, well, there may be a problem
c) “I bought some ointment/topical stuff at Walmart/Petco/Costco/Sam’s/Tractor Supply and he’s still covered in fleas” All flea control IS NOT created the same…and the quality control of some of the products purchased not from veterinarians is questionable. The staff at the above mentioned establishments do not spend their days discussing flea control and how it pertains to your pet and your home and your family.
d) “I’ve got four/six/eighteen pets and I can’t afford that stuff you sell, so I’m going to just buy bigger doses and spread it evenly on all my pets” NO! Splitting a large dose between two or three pets is not safe nor recommended. At the very least, it won’t work, and at the worst, that money you saved is going to be voided because your pet will be sick and needing hospitalization
e) “I bathed him and then put Frontline on him and he still has fleas” First of all, you have to wait two days after bathing to apply the Frontline. Secondly, while the Frontline kills the fleas once they bite and also prevents them from reproducing, the Frontline does not create a forcefield around the pet, so fleas WILL jump on the pet if there are fleas in the environment
f) “There are fleas on my pet, but they can’t be in my house, right?” Do you think the fleas stay just on your pet? When you have a lovely sofa/chair/carpeting/bedding to nest in? TREAT YOUR ENVIRONMENT!!! This is the Number 1 reason that topical flea prevention is “thought to not work”…there are still fleas in your house! So vacuum like crazy, wash whatever is washable and you might even need an exterminator. And then do it again. And again. It can take up to 6 months of regular treating of your pets as well as your environment to rid a home of an infestation. 6 MONTHS!!!! not a week, not a month….6 MONTHS…. there is a reason that fleas have lived so well for so long…they adapt and are challenging to kill!
g) “That flea stuff you sold me doesn’t work” Well, sometimes a multi-modal approach is necessary. There are pills that can help:
Capstar– actively kills fleas that are on the pet for (just) 24 hours. You can get this from us at the clinic.
Comfortis– actively kills fleas on the pet for (up to 30 days) but does nothing for tick control. You can order this from our website.
Trifexis– pill that treats for fleas as well as heartworm disease and some internal parasites. You can order this on our website, too. Can cause some dogs to vomit, especially our little guys
Sentinal– pill that treats for fleas, heartworm disease and internal parasites as well- palatable and easy to give to our DOGS, however presently off the market and we hope to have it back by the holidays or early next year.
Any questions?! We have been battling fleas aggressively for months now…so with a bit of prevention and follow through, you and your pet won’t be keeping each other up at night itching and scratching!