By Dr. Jess Trimble
In some areas of the country, flea prevention is a top-of-mind concern for pet parents year-round. We get particularly nervous during the first hot weather blast, as those pesky bugs like the heat – between 70-85°F and 70 percent humidity, to be exact. Though you may be on high-alert this time of year, we recommend keeping your favorite friend covered 365. Fleas can cause more than just a little scratching. They can carry parasites like tapeworms and other diseases that can transfer to your pet. Preventing fleas also prevents far more serious conditions, such as anemia.
Attack of the Mutant Fleas
Much like the latest flu virus, mutant monster fleas (not a technical term) have become resistant to common flea preventives. Our team at Fuzzy is constantly evaluating new and different flea medications to make sure that the preventive medication does its job. For dogs, we typically recommend products with a broad spectrum of activity. We prefer those that kill not just fleas, but ticks and mites. For cats, we recommend oral or topical flea control, based on your pet's needs. Unless you’re a professional cat wrestler, the topical medicine might be the way to go. But because every pet is unique, we work with each pet parent to design a flea prevention program that will work best for your particular pet and your location. And best of all, we get you the medicine and ship it directly to you all year.
No Avoiding These Pests
The total lifecycle will take anywhere from a couple weeks to several months, so once your new house guests move in, they’re likely there for a while. It’s nearly impossible to keep fleas off of your pet because they can be anywhere – other animals, under furniture, in the grass, etc. If you’re on a good preventive, the fleas should die pretty quickly on your pet. However, once you see a live flea on them, it’s pretty likely there are others in the area (gross)! Adult fleas lay eggs which fall off into the environment. There the eggs hatch and mature until they are ready to jump back onto your furry friend. You must be diligent in using flea control products as directed, on every pet in your home, in order to get these pesky buggers under control.
What about Natural Products, shampoos and collars?
Many natural household products are great for cleaning, but bad for your pet. Essential oils and herbs smell great, but they could lead to poisoning and a trip to an emergency room. Popular essential oils (including cinnamon and tea tree) are known to be highly poisonous even if they are just inhaled or diluted. In addition to making your pet sick, the super fleas won’t give a second thought to your natural remedy. Shampoos only work to kill the flea that’s on a pet’s body. If your house happens to have fleas in it, you’re in for a lot of bath nights. Choose a long term solution like a flea preventive recommended by your vet, rather than relying on anti-flea shampoo. Most flea collars do not work, either. The exception is the Seresto collar which lasts for up to 8 months.
If you have lingering questions, reach out to us through the Fuzzy app and our vet team will get you the critical information you need to keep your pet parasite-free!