|Photo by Christina Welsh (Rin)|
Even though there are more than 2,000 known species and subspecies of fleas, only one class of flea called the ‘cat flea’ is to blame for almost all the fleas found on cats and dogs in the United States. What is really daunting is that there is evidence of fleas dating all the way back to the dinosaur era which means they obviously aren’t going away by themselves – all the more reason to do something to protect your pets and family.
Most fleas can survive for an average of two to three months without ‘food’ which is actually the blood they suck from their ‘hosts’. A female flea consumes 15 times her own body weight in blood daily! You should also know that while adult fleas suck blood from a cat, dog or other mammals, their larvae live and feed on organic debris in the host animal's environment – that’s your home! Be aware that some fleas can jump 150 times their own length – that compares to a human jumping 1,000 feet. So if you happen to see one flea, there may be more than 100 offspring or adults looming nearby in furniture, carpeting or on your pet.
Now let’s talk about how to prevent these gross little parasites from getting into your life and how to get rid of them if they do. As a pet owner, one of your main responsibilities is to keep your pet healthy. Taking them to the vet for their annual check-ups is very important. While you’re there, be sure to talk to your veterinarian about a flea prevention method for your furry friends such as Advantage, Advantix or Frontline. Certain products can also help to prevent ticks in addition to fleas.
If you see fleas on your pets or in your home, take action immediately. Not only are fleas a huge annoyance, but they can also transmit diseases and tapeworm. If your home becomes infested, you will probably need to purchase flea bombs – make sure read and adhere to the directions carefully and contact your vet to get further advice and relief for your pet and family.