Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fleas on dogs

The question: “Does my dog have fleas?” has been asked millions of times. Indeed, flea infestation raises a lot of questions. Firstly, how does one figure out that the animal has fleas? Secondly, how does one get about exterminating fleas? And finally: what should be done to ensure that these pesky insects will never come back to haunt us? Well, to find the answers to these questions, just read on.

The species of flea that, as a dog owner, you are most likely to face is the so-called dog flea, Ctenocephalides canis. It feeds on dog and cat blood, though sometimes bites humans, too. Its life cycle consists of 4 stages, whose lengths may differ, depending on the temperature. The cooler it is, the longer it takes for the flea to develop; that is why you most often discover fleas on your pet in the summer.

Ok, you have a funny impression that there's someone else living there on your fluffy friend's skin. What proves your suspicion? If you see your pet scratching and biting itself excessively (especially in areas such as: the head, neck, rear, tail, where fleas particularly like to reside), there's a pretty good chance the beast is flea-infested. Skin lesion, red bumps (from flea biting) and flea excrement will further prove it. As for humans, they usually develop an itching rash with small bumps that bleed. The rash can be found on the armpit or fold of a joint (eg. Elbow, knee, ankle), which, when pressed, turns white.

It is of paramount importance that you combat these parasites as soon as possible because not only are they irksome and ugly, but also pose a threat to your and your dog's health. Problems caused by fleas may range from mild to severe itching and discomfort, flea allergy dermatitis (then the above symptoms are more pronounced + the dog loses hair and its skin gets smelly), even anaemia. What's more, fleas can transmit tapeworms to pets.

Scary though it may sound, flea control is in fact easy to achieve, and if you take the following steps, the ultimate aim of flea-free environment is within your reach.

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