Fleas and ticks are two common parasites that enjoy the company of our pets. There are many misconceptions surrounding the life cycle, habitat, and feeding habits of these pests, so Loving Family Animal Hospital is here to set the story straight.
All about fleas
- 95 percent of the flea population is hidden in your environment. Only 5 percent are adults; the rest are eggs, larvae, and pupae. Just because you don’t see them, doesn’t mean they’re not there.
- Female fleas are hungry! A single female can drink up to 15 times its body weight in blood at one meal, and she can sit down for dinner 15 times a day.
- Fleas can live for up to 1 ½ years, depending on environmental conditions.
- A female flea can lay up to 2,000 eggs in her lifetime.
- Hardwood floors are not immune to fleas. They can still live in floor cracks and crevices, on furniture and bedding, and in any dark place.
- Just because your pet is an “indoor-only” pet, doesn’t mean fleas aren’t a threat. Just like spiders, flies, and other insects, fleas can end up inside your home and on your cat or dog.
- Fleas can cause anemia, tapeworms, skin allergies, and cat scratch disease. They can also transmit the plague.
- A flea infestation cannot be eliminated in just a few days. With proper treatment of your home, environment, and pets, it can take 3 to 8 weeks to be completely flea-free.
- Treating just the itchy, flea-covered pet will not work. All pets in the household must be treated to prevent them from harboring those flea fugitives.
- The cat flea accounts for almost all the flea infestations in the United States. They are equal-opportunity bloodsuckers and will readily latch on to dogs or cats (or humans!).
- Most pet store products, flea shampoos, and flea collars aren’t as effective as they claim to be. Some don’t work at all, some aren’t effective for the full amount of time, and some can cause adverse side effects, such as skin reactions, seizures, and even death.
- Fleas lay eggs on your pet. When your pet moves around, the eggs fall off and hatch in places like your carpet, your pet’s bedding, or your furniture.
- Fleas can lay dormant in their environment for months. The right conditions need to be met for them to evolve through their life stages.
All about ticks
- Do not burn a tick off your body or your pet’s body. Covering it with nail polish or setting a match to a tick can cause it to deposit more disease-carrying saliva into the bite wound.
- Remove ticks by gripping them with tweezers as close to the skin as possible and pulling straight out with a slow and steady motion. If all or part of the head is not removed, call our office right away.
- Diseases carried by ticks include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, tularemia, and many more.
- Most ticks have to be attached for at least 8 hours to transmit disease. Lyme disease can take up to 48 hours to be transmitted, so check for ticks regularly and immediately after being in areas where ticks like to hide, like shady areas with tall grasses, weeds, or old piles of leaf debris.
- People cannot contract tick-borne diseases from an infected pet, but a pet can carry infective ticks into the home, putting your human family members at risk.
- Ticks can live for up to three years.
- Ticks live on and feed from three different animal hosts during their life cycle.
- Most ticks spend most of their lives off their host, choosing instead to hang out in their environment and only living on a host during feeding time.
- Ticks can’t jump and don’t fall from trees. Instead, they hitch rides on humans or animals while the potential host walks through long grass, bushes, and brush.
- Ticks have anesthetic and anti-inflammatory qualities in their saliva that help prevent their victims from noticing when they are bitten.
Fleas and ticks never rest, so we highly recommend using a year-round flea and tick preventive medication to protect your pets from the diseases and discomfort caused by these pests. Harsh winters can drive parasites inside, where they will survive and thrive on your pet and in your home.
Don’t wait until your pet or your human family members become victims of these parasites, stop by Loving Family Animal Hospital or call us at 303-680-5050 today to discuss the best flea and tick prevention for your pet.