It’s summer! Now that it’s here, pet owners should bear in mind that dog flea control and cat flea control are still important and they should consult their veterinarian for advice about the best products. Some people are surprised to learn that flea protection is a good idea for the entire year and if you have let flea control slide during the spring months, hop to it!
Fleas Are More Than a Pesky Nuisance
It is heartbreaking to watch your beloved dog or cat struggling to cope with the terrible itching caused by fleas and, even worse, some animals are allergic to flea saliva and have to deal with almost intolerable itching:
- An adult flea has a dark brown hard shell and is about 2.5 millimeters in size. Fleas can be seen by the naked eye. Fleas don’t fly but can jump long distances and have claws on their legs that allow them to attach themselves to animals, people, carpets, etc.
- When fleas bite the skin and feed on the host’s blood, it causes mild to severe itching and may cause a dreaded allergy dermatitis in animals with sensitive skin. This type of allergy doesn’t go away even after the fleas have been removed, and requires special treatment.
- A large flea infestation can cause an animal to develop anemia, can cause hair loss and skin abrasions (usually from non-stop scratching), and fleas serve as hosts for tapeworms.
- Fleas can invade your entire home and yard and bite people as well, and it may take months to get rid of them if you don’t engage in a full-out cleaning assault.
It is Important to Consult a Veterinarian about Flea Protection
There are a lot of flea control products on the market and you want to make sure you buy exactly what your pet needs, which is why you need the guidance of a veterinarian. For example:
- Some people who own both a cat and a dog may be tempted to use the same flea protection for both animals. Cats and dogs do not have the same physiologies and flea treatments not only affect them differently, but also some formulations for dogs can be toxic for cats.
- Your veterinarian will recommend the best products to control fleas for your pet, and you must be sure to follow the directions to the letter. Consult with your vet about your pet’s lifestyle in order to find the best-suited product—usually topical or oral—for them and for different time periods of coverage. Most products are used monthly.
- Keep an eye on your pets after flea treatments are applied to make sure there isn’t some unusual reaction, which could be drooling or loss of coordination. While this is very unlikely, it is better to be safe than sorry.
- If your pet already has fleas, the same product that provides future protection can also kill fleas. However, it won’t protect you from having to clean your house from top to bottom to rid your home of the nasty critters.
It is Wise to Protect Pets from Fleas all Year Long
If you live in a warm region—and Vancouver is usually really warm, neither too hot or too cold!—you will need to make sure your pet has flea protection all year round. Most fleas can survive if they find warm hosts such as cats and dogs. Their eggs can live in protected areas such as animal dens, crawl spaces, and porches, and will hatch in the warmth.
Some pet owners prefer to avoid using chemicals on their pets constantly and fear it could be harmful. However, there has been a great deal of research demonstrating that veterinary-approved flea protection products such as topical solutions (Advantage, Revolution, etc.) and oral products (Bravecto, Sentinel, Program, etc.) are safe.
Use our dog flea control and cat flea control tips, and consult your veterinarian for the most appropriate products for your pets. Follow directions for their use carefully, and may you never suffer the agony of having to rid your home of fleas. We hope you are enjoying the warm weather without fear of those pesky pests!
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