A flea is a small leaping bloodsucking insect, this small wingless insect has legs adapted for jumping and will suck blood from your dog. Fleas are parasites that live on warm-blooded animals. Just writing this article makes me itch.
Fleas are a pesky problem in dogs because they multiply and lead to additional problems. Just one of these miserable little insects can cause an outbreak of fleas to your dog and your home. Flea parasite eggs are easily transferred onto carpets and furniture. Fleas can be picked up in long grass, leaves, or being exposed to another animal with fleas.
This is why when you board your dog at a good boarding kennel they will check your dog for fleas and treat your dog if necessary. You can expect to pay for this treatment so preventive measures will cost you less in the long run, as it will be more expensive for the boarding kennel to do.
Generally the warm weather season is where fleas begin to be a problem because of the growing grass and summer elements that help them jump to their host. Once a flea is on your dog it not only feeds on the dog’s blood but begins to continually lay eggs. The eggs hatch into larvae and they also begin to feed on the dog. Then these larvae will grow, cocoon, and hatch into adult fleas. The life cycle of a flee is 15 days. One would think ‘well we will be ride of the flea problem in 15 days’ but the fact is, in that 15 days the flea has multiplied many times over. A flea can lay as many as 50 eggs in a single day and over 500 eggs in its life cycle. OK now I know your creeping out and feeling a little itchy as well.
To check your dog for fleas you can use a flea comb which works very well because it has many small teeth and you can spread the dogs hair to get down to the dogs skin so you can check for fleas. These little flea combs also work well to check for wood ticks. If you see fleas then treat the dog. If you do not visibly see any fleas and want to be positive that your dog does not have fleas then you can do additional checking by rubbing a white cloth on the dog and look for small black spots. If you find these spots you are probably looking at flea feces, or digested blood. If you wet these black spots they will turn a reddish color. If they do look reddish in color then it is most likely your dog is infested.
Don’t panic there are several treatment options to kill and prevent fleas. I use a preventative monthly application like Frontline Plus. It is simple to use, read the directions on the package. You can also use a flea treatment shampoo, flea oil, or flea spray on the dog. A vinegar rinse will work but is smelly and is not long lasting. Flea collars are another option but I am not a big fan of them. Flea collars are a plastic collar that release an insecticide. The problem is that they only work on the front part of the dog’s body and some dog’s skin can be irritated from the insecticide. I think the safer and easier way to control fleas is to use a topically-applied medication that you apply monthly.