Fleas are a major threat to the health of dogs, cats, and other domestic pets. In addition to causing itching and discomfort, they can cause tapeworms, dermatitis, and other skin infections. They can also lead to anemia, which can be fatal to puppies and kittens. If you notice your pet scratching more than usual, it could be due to fleas. Below is a look at the dangers of fleas and the steps you can take as a pet owner to remove fleas from your home.

What are fleas and why are they so dangerous to pets?

"Fleas are a parasite which feed on the blood of warm blooded animals, including humans. They pierce the skin, inject an anti-coagulant chemical into the host to prevent blood clotting and suck out the blood some passing straight through their rectum in order to lay their eggs. A flea bite can cause acute irritation, infection and transfer of other parasites, such as, tapeworms."

- American Kennel Club (AKC)

Fleas are tiny insects that are less than a tenth of an inch in length. While the might be tiny in size, fleas can have a major impact on the health of your pet. They are parasites that live deep within the fur coats of dogs and cats, and may also live within your carpet fibers or other soft furnishings within your home. They produce discomfort, cause irritation, and can lead to infections and tapeworms. Here is a look at three of the top health problems caused by fleas:

1) Tapeworms

A tapeworm is a long, flat worm found in dogs, cats, and humans. It is a destructive intestinal parasite that attaches to the intestinal wall and can live for decades undetected in an animal or human. They are often found in underdeveloped countries, but can also be transmitted to dogs and cats through fleas. 

2) Flea Allergy Dermatitis

This malady is the most prevalent skin disease among American dogs. It can also impact cats. Flea allergy dermatitis develops when a dog or cat is allergic to the flea saliva to which they are exposed during a flea bite. Symptoms include hair loss, itching, scaly skin, and skin infections. It is important to note that one bite by a single flea can cause this condition. 

3) Anemia

Anemia develops when a pet loses blood due to multiple flea bites. Fleas may consume up to 15 times their body weight in blood. This can be particularly dangerous for small puppies or kittens whose small bodies are overcome during a flea infestation.  

What are the symptoms of flea bites on pets?

The first step in treating flea bites on your pet is knowing the symptoms to look for. Due to their small size and their tendency to burrow deep into your pet's fur, fleas are not always easy to see. And bites may remain undetected due to their small size and their location under your pet's fur. The American Kennel Club (AKC) highlights the following five key symptoms of flea bites on pets:

  • Biting and chewing at skin

  • Hair loss

  • Severe scratching and itching

  • The presence of scabs

  • Red, irritated skin

In addition to these symptoms, you may notice tiny bugs on your pets or on your furnishings. And if one or more of your pets has already had at least one flea infestation, your home may be at an increased risk for a flea infestation in the future. 

What is the most important thing homeowners can do to remove fleas?  

Regular vacuuming is the single most important activity a homeowner can undertake to remove fleas from their property. Vacuuming is an effective flea removal technique for multiple reasons. First, vacuuming causes vibration which encourages eggs to hatch, so a professional flea control provider can apply their insecticides and kill the adult fleas. The flea experts with FleaScience provide some specific recommendations for vacuuming frequency, which are outlined below:

"Vacuum every other day for at least 3-8 weeks. After pets and the environment are treated, there shouldn't be any new eggs. 3 weeks after treatment, the fleas in the environment should all have matured into cocooned stages. At this point, vacuuming can be dialed back to 2-3 times per week...Return to a normal vacuuming schedule 5 months after the first treatment (unless control wasn't attained)."

FleaScience

What are some other steps you can take to remove fleas?

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Clearly, regular vacuuming and flea control services from a trained provider are musts for pet owners seeking a flea-free living environment. However, there are other steps you can take as a pet owner to help eliminate fleas from your home environment. The PetMed Express experts outline some other simple tips to help you get rid of fleas on your property:

  • Thoroughly clean your home - especially your floors - on a regular basis

  • Wash your pet's bed and other possessions in hot water to ensure that fleas and larvae are killed

  • Throw away any pet toys or belongings that cannot be washed in hot water or thoroughly cleaned

  • Use a carpet spray on rugs, carpet, and upholstery in between professional flea control treatments

  • Discard your vacuum bag each time you sweep your floors, as fleas can hatch inside the bag 

Contact Cal-Cam for Safe, Professional Flea Removal Services

The single best step you can take to protect your pets from fleas is to contact the top pest control company in Lake Charles. For over 31 years, Cal-Cam Termite and Pest Control, Inc. has delivered safe, professional flea control services to pet owners in Lake Charles and surrounding areas of Louisiana. As a testament to their high quality of service, Cal-Cam is a member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and was voted as one of the top 50 privately held businesses in Southwest Louisiana.

Our commitment to protecting you, your family, and your pets does not stop with our flea control services. We offer a host of other pest control services that target termites, mosquitoes, spiders, roaches, rodents, and many others. We strive to offer the most reasonable rates in the Lake Charles area and even offer convenient online bill payment. We invite you to contact us today for a FREE flea control estimate. We look forward to serving as your trusted solution for all of your pest-control needs!  

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