Dog and Cat Flea Infestation

FleaSpring and summer time is the time of year where dogs and cats are not only trying to stay cool but the infestation of fleas is on the rise. So what to do? And are there better medicines or methods to rid dogs and cats of the pesky flea?

Fleas are a stealthy and problematic pest for both dogs and cats. Unfortunately, a female flea can lay more than 25 eggs in a day. Even with the best flea remedies, a single female flea can lay enough eggs on an animal to ensure that the cycle of fleas are more difficult to exterminate. Per the University of Missouri Extension, there are "four stages that make up the life cycle of fleas: egg, larva, pupa and adult." Under normal conditions, the entire life cycle of dog and cat fleas may be completed in as little as 20 to 35 days" (refer to figure).

flealifecycle

There are a variety of flea treatments that are available to manage or potentially eliminate the flea, and the egg population on your pet, and in your house. In some cases, a combination of flea products can help control fleas. However, speak with your pet's veterinarian or pet store representative to learn what  combinations of products work together and what products do not work together. Dogs and cats could become very ill if flea products are misused or overused. Important, when selecting a flea medicine, learn what medicine will control flea infestation at any stage of the flea lifecycle.

Today's flea treatments are available in a topical and oral form. However, and with the many brands available, they all yield different results. Some treatments are for fleas only; some treat fleas and ticks, and others treatments are combined with heartworm management ingredients. "While some topical flea and tick treatments could leave areas of your pet prone to harmful infestation, oral medications provide protection for your pet's entire body" (McClain). With the many options available for flea treatments it is important to understand that flea medicines come in different dosage levels depending on your pet's weight. "Flea medication engineered for dogs could be harmful to cats and vice versa" (McClain). Again, if you are unsure what flea medication is best for our dog or cat consult with a veterinarian or pet store representative for guidance.

One important detail to understand about fleas is that they like to prey on the weaker and less healthy dog or cat. Young puppies and kitties are at high-risk due to their undeveloped immune system. Therefore, providing your dog or cat with a good healthy diet to boost their immune system is a good place to begin to combat against fleas. "Nothing you give your dog or cat can do as much good for their health and immunity as a proper diet" (Healthy Pet Journal).