Fleas are one of the most common pests to affect your furry friends. During the warmer months, when fleas are at their most active, it is important to notice any signs your pet may be infested. Removing fleas from your pet is a top priority, as their bites can cause itching, infection, allergic reactions, or even death in your pet. Here are a few tips and tricks when treating your dog or cat with fleas.
What Are Fleas?
Fleas are tiny, wingless insects that feed on the blood of pets, dogs, and cats alike. When a flea bites its host, it secretes saliva into the skin, causing an allergic reaction, which leads to itchiness. A closer look at your pet might show scabs or flea dirt in their bed. These pesky bugs can jump up to 13 inches in length and are known to spread quickly.
While fleas may be common on outdoor pets, these pests can also affect humans. A flea bite on a human can result in an itchy welt, or in worst-case scenarios, spread disease. Some may even pass tapeworms to your other pets or yourself.
Fleas can be a serious threat to your pet, as well as you and your family. Flea infestations can cause itching and redness, so it is important that you take action quickly. Here are a few remedies you can use to help rid of these pests:
1. Bathe Your Pet
Bathing your pet can help to kill off fleas. Just use lukewarm water and mild soap to cleanse their fur and skin. You can also use dish soap for intense cleaning power. If you’re using a shampoo or similar product, talk to your veterinarian first. Some of these products may strip your pet’s skin of natural oils, or create an allergic reaction if they have any open wounds on their skin.
Bathing your pet is not a must and can be avoided if you’re worried about how your pet will react. However, it is important to talk to your vet to determine what your next step would be. Some pets may need daily baths, which can result in dry skin and uncomfortable itching. Make sure you’re using a shampoo that is safe for your specific furry friend.
2. Invest In A Fine-Tooth Flea Comb
A flea comb is a great way to remove these pesky bloodsuckers. Fleas are tiny, fast, and difficult to grab. One way to remove them from your pet’s fur is to use a flea comb. Dipping the comb in a mixture of water and dish soap will help to catch the insects, and prevent them from jumping away.
Flea combs are also fine enough to catch larvae, droppings, and other parts of the flea life cycle. Be sure to comb your pet’s entire body – from ears to tail – to ensure that there are none left on the body. Usually, fleas like to stay close to the tail and neck areas, where it is warmest and easiest to hold on.
3. Kill Them All
These pests are some of the smallest that can affect your pet externally. Because of that, it is important to know what you’re looking for. Fleas are usually around the size of a poppy seed and have a reddish-brown tint to them. While combing your pet, if you find them on the comb, dunk the comb directly into hot water to kill them. Do not try to grab or cover them – they’re probably faster than you.
4. Do Regular Checks
If this isn’t your first rodeo, be sure to check your pet regularly for signs of fleas. This is especially important if they spend a lot of time outdoors. Don’t be afraid to give them a quick comb-through every few weeks to ensure they are flea-free!
5. Let Your Pet Groom Itself
Flea bites and flea saliva can cause itching and red, itchy skin in cats. The extra grooming your cat does when it has fleas helps lose the fleas and their egg, but in rare cases being bitten too much or left untreated can cause serious infections. This extra cleaning is great! However, if you notice your pet biting or chewing at its skin, hair loss, or inflamed skin, that itself can be a sign of infestation or infection.
It is important to know that fleas may not even stay on your pet. These pests can live in carpets, bedding, and other soft surfaces in your home that your pet lays on. If you’re not sure if you have an infestation, make sure to contact an exterminator for your home and a vet for your pet.
When to See a Veterinarian
Not all fleas are an emergency. If you can get rid of them without seeing your vet, then you should. However, treat them with a prescription flea medication such as a collar or oral or topical treatment. While removing fleas from your pet, you should see your vet ASAP if:
- Your pet is showing signs of being lethargic.
- Extreme unexpected weight loss
- Rubbing their bodies along the floor
- You notice signs of tapeworms in their stool – similar to the look of rice or cucumber seeds.
- Pale or white gums
These could be a sign of a tapeworm, a dangerous factor of a flea infestation. If you’re noticing any of these symptoms in your pet, bring them to a veterinarian right away for correct treatment.
Keeping Your Pet Happy
We are more than just a doggie daycare. From grooming and exercise to even bathing to help in removing fleas from your pet. Coastal Paws is at your service and ready to help board your pet in a safe environment, or just enjoy a day with new friends at our doggie daycare! We are a luxury pet resort and doggie daycare and offer unmatched, quality service for you and your pet every day of the year. Call us at 843-800-PAWS (7297) to book your pet’s next stay.