The big topic around here these days is a small four letter word that has us all cussing when one is spotted: FLEA! And the cursing is justified because for every one flea you see, there are 10 to 15 more you don’t! They are usually the root cause of all itching our pets go through. Just one little bite can cause your pet to chew apart their skin.

Monthly flea treatments work to break the life cycle of the flea. To understand how each treatment works you need to understand how fleas work. Fleas pass through four stages of life, all taking place in about one month: egg, larva, pupae and adult. Although fleas can jump they usually will wait for a host (your pet) to pass by to catch a ride, and once aboard they will remain until killed or groomed off. The female will start to lay her eggs two days after her first meal and she will produce up to 30 eggs per day. She will continue to feed on your pet, leaving flea excrement, fine reddish black dust seen on the skin and bedding of pets. This excrement will continue to feed her larvae until they reach adulthood, and so goes the cycle again.

Advantage and Frontline are topical treatments that are applied to the back and base of the tail of your pet to control fleas. The natural oils on the fur help transfer the pesticide to all parts of the animal’s body. These work at killing the adult fleas on your pet within 30 minutes of their feed, thus killing the flea cycle. The downside of the topical treatment is that it can be washed off and huge infestations can take time to die out. Other products like Program work at disrupting the life cycle by inhibiting the normal development of the pupae and larvae. A monthly pill treatment like Comfortis or Trifexis, work at killing the female fleas before they can lay any eggs.

No matter which method you think works best for your dog, all flea treatment should be used year-round to prevent flea infestations. Regardless of the product used to kill fleas, the pet can continue to be exposed to the fleas that live in the environment. When these fleas jump onto the pet they should be quickly killed by the treatment. If you still continue to see fleas on your dog within a month after treating your pet, it is most likely that these are new fleas that have recently emerged from pupae and jumped onto your pet. If it is within the month, these new fleas should be quickly killed before they can produce more eggs.

Your pets first line of defense is regular grooming, a good bath and comb through. The soap acts as a gentle insecticide and helps control light infestations. Heather and Amy are experienced at finding the signs of fleas and combing out the ones that are visible. After they are all fluffed up and brushed out, your pet will be ready for their monthly flea treatment.

Lots of information, we know, so please don’t be afraid to call and ask us for help!

Stay tuned – in Part Two of this blog, we will discuss ways to treat your home for fleas.