Vet Blog

So, Your Pet Has Fleas… Now What?

May 31, 2019

Whether you've identified that your pet has fleas yourself or you have had your pet diagnosed by a professional, the prospect of dealing with an infestation can be overwhelming.

Fleas are notoriously hard to get rid of. Fortunately, with a little time and patience it is possible to eradicate fleas from your pet and your home once and for all.

To help you get to grips with your pet's flea problem, we have put together what you need to know about flea infestations and how to deal with them.

The Flea Life Cycle

One of the most challenging things about fleas is how quickly their numbers can grow. A single female flea can lay anything up to 50 eggs each day, each of which takes around 21 days to mature into a fully-grown adult capable of laying eggs of its own. Your pet may only have a few fleas at first, but we can guarantee it won't stay that way for long! This is just one reason why it is important that you treat your pet's fleas as soon as you realize that she has them.

When a flea lays eggs, they roll off of the host and drop onto floors and soft furnishing where they can lurk fairly safely while they mature and evolve. It is essential to destroy fleas at every stage of their lifecycle to ensure that you get rid of the infestation once and for all.

Getting Flea Treatment for Your Pet

Once you know your pet has fleas, your immediate priority will be getting treatment to destroy any fleas living on her. Having fleas is very unpleasant for your precious pet. They will be making her feel itchy and uncomfortable, and if she is allergic to flea saliva as so many pets are, her immune system could be going into overdrive against them, causing her to experience extreme itching, soreness, swelling, and a general feeling of unwellness. Fleas can also carry diseases such as tapeworms, and the longer you leave them untreated, the greater the risk to your pet.

Fortunately, there are lots of different flea treatments available for pets. These range from orally taken medications to topical, spot-on treatments that are placed on the back of her neck. It is important to get the right dose for your pet based on her breed, age, and weight and your vet will be able to guide you as to which is right for your furbaby.

Treating Your Home for Fleas

At the same time as treating your pet for fleas, you also need to be taking steps to eliminate these free-loading parasites from your home. Fleas can survive without a host for many months so just because your pet may be off the menu it doesn't mean that they are going to move out without protest!

There is a range of different products that you can use to eliminate fleas from your home and yard, including powders and 'chemical bombs'. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully, particularly when it comes to removing people and pets from your property before using them. In addition to these products, you should clean bedding regularly and vacuum furniture, flooring, and skirting boards to ensure that you are removing fleas at every stage of their lifecycle. Throw away the vacuum bag after each use to ensure that none make their way back out into your home.

Invest in Preventatives

As soon as you have treated your pet for fleas, it is important to start her on preventative treatments to stop her from being affected in the future. Again, there are lots of different products to choose from, some of which purely protect against fleas while others combine flea preventatives with those for other parasites such as ticks. They are available in various forms including topical and oral treatments and must be administered regularly as described in the instructions to ensure that your furry friend is protected at all times.

Dealing with a flea problem doesn't need to be a drama but preventing future infestations with the proper preventatives could save your pet from the misery of these parasites in the future.

If you have further questions about what to do if your pet has a flea problem and you would like the advice of an experienced and knowledgeable veterinary team, please make contact with Patton Chapel Animal Clinic in Hoover, AL where our staff would be happy to help. Call today at (205) 822-4779!