They are pesky. They are horrible.
They bite and pup, kitty or we itch where they did. In 40% of pups, they bite and pup has a systemic, allergic reaction which means a consult with your vet for antihistamines or, in bad cases, steroids.
Spring is here and so are @#%@#! fleas.
They live in the grass. They live in the carpet. They live amidst your pup or kitty’s furand they can jump to you.
Jump. Yes, jump. These tiny reddish brown to black insects are wingless. They are about the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen and they travel from host to host in jumps. The best way to diagnose that it’s fleas when your pet is itching is to part the fur over the area he’s scratching and actually see these nasty athletes scurry back into the safety of pup or kitty’s fur.
First step is the “ounce of prevention”. Here are some tips from your Brooklyn dog walkers.
On the market are a number of preparations that you apply to your pet’s skin where he can’t lick it off. The scruff of the neck and back are usually used. Front Line and Advantix are the two biggest sellers. The chemicals are absorbed through your pet’s skin and become systemic prevention. They work fairly well. But with systemic preventions there are two caveats you should know:
1) Purchase your tick and flea repellant from your vet. You might save a few dollars by buying online but there have been instances of intentionally mislabeled product. A reputable vet purchases from a reputable veterinary supply house such as Henry Schein who knows where their product originates and won't take shortcuts.
2) How safe are the chemicals – from permethrin to fiprinol that kill the fleas? They act on the flea’s nervous and reproductive systems. Is there any crossover to pup, kitty and us? The companies say “no” but they do have a vested interest in saying that, don’t they?
So read and discuss risk/reward with your vet.
You may choose the natural ounce of prevention or even go natural for your pound of cure. Not easy but a lot safer.
1) Frequent vacuuming. Suck up those larvae, pupae and adult fleas and get them out. You can sprinkle diatomaceous earth, baking powder or table salt (or any combination) in a known flea area to dehydrate their nasty little bodies.
2) Bathe pup frequently. Although some fleas will survive in air pockets, the majority will drown with a good lathering and deep rinse.
3) Launder clothes and bedding – including pup’s bedding - frequently and use water from the hottest settings to boil them to death.
4) Fleas like humidity. Run your a/c to dry out the air even if you don’t need cooling.
5) If you do have fleas, you can make an effective flea trap with a desk lamp placed over a bowl of water with dish soap. Do this over night so the light attracts the fleas. When they fall into the soapy water they drown.
‘Tis spring. ‘Tis the season. And although fleas can be unwelcome visitors any time of year, they are exalting in the nice warm weather just as we are.
Don’t let them!