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Flea Control - No more fleas, please!

With such warm and comfortable fur coats, is it any wonder our dogs provide the perfect nesting ground for nasty fleas? Flea fossils date back to the Lower Cretaceous period, meaning they’ve been around for about 100 million years – which is a mighty long time to be bugging our pets.

And when you learn that some fleas can jump 150 times their own length, it’s easy to see how they get around so quickly. While more than 2,000 known species and subspecies of fleas exist, it is the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) that accounts for almost all the fleas found on cats and dogs in the United States. 

The female flea can lay 2,000 eggs in her lifetime – which is an average of two to three months. This busy little insect also consumes 15 times her own body weight in blood every day – creating the nasty bites on your dog’s body, from which she draws her food supply. Worst of all, the flea cycle continues to harm an affected animal as eggs are laid onto the fur, which then hatch into adults. Once they’re on your dog, it’s easy for them to spread to your carpets and bedding, where they’ll continue to grow and multiply. That’s why flea control is so important.

Flea Control Signs

Intense scratching and biting are sure signs your dog may have fleas. If you comb through their fur you’ll also notice that there are flea droppings (like specks of dirt) throughout the coat. It’s important to kill the fleas, and also treat your dog’s bedding to prevent further infestation. You need to be thorough about flea control – these are stubborn insects. Where you see one, could mean there are hundreds in hiding.

Flea Control Cures

Natural remedies and shampoos like tea-tree oil, dried pennyroyal (a herb from the mint family), and flea traps are some of the best ways to stamp out the prolific little critter.
But as they say, prevention is always better than cure. For flea deterrence, stick with ingredients in your dog’s shampoo that keep fleas at bay naturally such as lavender and citronella. Other unique flea control treatments include adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to your dog’s water bowl, putting a drop of lemon oil or rosemary oil on your dog’s collar or lavender oil in between the dog’s shoulder blades to create a flea-free zone.
Adult fleas are also destroyed by bathing your dog with strong soap and by applying insecticides or petroleum.

For tough cases, try advanced formulas called “spot-ons” – brands like Advantage and Frontline that you apply between the shoulder blades of your dog. They go to work to kill fleas and last for up to 3 months in warding off new infestations.

Prevention with “egg-stopper” collars can also work well. They contain ingredients like (methoprene or pyriproxyfen) released from the collar to kill flea eggs and prevent new ones from hatching.

Always be vigilant in preventing and controlling fleas on your dog. Remember, these are the animals that contributed to one of the worst plagues in history – The Black Death – that killed one third of the population in Europe in the 14th century. Oriental rat fleas were the primary culprits in transmitting the disease on the back of black rats. A good piece of trivia to keep in mind, if you feel sorry for the little blighters, as you embark on your mission to seek and destroy the bloodsucking, wingless parasite.


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