By Dawn Todd
I often warn about the real dangers to our health ticks can pose. They’re capable of spreading some pretty nasty diseases to us. Despite that, no one comes in crying over a tick bite…. but people definitely come in with tears in their eyes over the special torment that fleas bring. I love helping people solve their flea problems,and this month I’ll give you my top tips for avoiding a “Planet of the Fleas” takeover.
Like a fire, fleas can get out of control quickly if we don’t act fast. No one worries much about a house fire until they see flames. I commonly see the same strategy employed with fleas – not thinking about them at all until they’ve spread like a forest fire!
Folks who get their world taken over by fleas generally start using flea prevention only when they see fleas. But prevention is just that… prevention. Once you see fleas, you failed to prevent them … and now we have a bigger task to tackle.
TOP TEN Blunders That Give Fleas A Foothold Into Your World:
1. If your pet doesn’t itch and scratch that means he doesn’t have fleas right? Wrong– pets are often overlooked if they’re not chewing away at themselves. Some pets just aren’t allergic to flea bites and can have a thousand fleas on them, yet still not scratch.
2. Failure to identify fleas on pets with dark colored coats. It’s fairly easy to detect fleas on pets with white or light colored fur… it’s much more challenging on dark colored fur. Assuming your dark coated pet doesn’t have fleas because you can’t see them is a frequent miscalculation.
3. “I don’t want to waste money, I’ll apply the prevention as soon as I see fleas.” If you’re seeing lots of adult fleas it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Plan to be patient, it takes several months to get a flea infestation completely under control.
4. Skipping flea prevention all winter, and starting back on prevention in May or June. All flea infestations start with not using preventatives consistently year round.
5. Using over-the-counter products purchased at a “big box” store. See the video below for a classic example of a dog treated with inexpensive flea prevention products.
6. Treating the dogs, but not the cats because the cats “don’t have fleas.” This is a common error, explained in the section below entitled “Ever Wonder How…”
7. Failure to treat the pets that live strictly indoors. When pets with access to outdoors bring in hitchhiking fleas, they can quickly be transferred to untreated pets.
8. Treating the pets that live indoors, but not those who live outdoors. Untreated outdoor pets can create a huge flea population that your indoor pets must walk through when they’re outdoors.
9. Relying on ineffective solutions such as Dawn dish soap, vinegar, Diatomaceous earth, flea collars, flea shampoo, flea bombs, salt, and more. Some of these things simply don’t work, and some are fairly toxic to you and your pets. When in doubt, shoot me an email!
10. Failure to follow the Three C’s: Correct frequency of use, Consistent year round application, Correct application.
What’s a responsible pet parent to do?
Let us help protect you and your entire family from fleas with this month’s tips:
1. Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight! Let us work with you to recommend the best solution for your pets and your home. When you purchase products from Noah’s Ark, they’re guaranteed to work.
2. Don’t waste lots of money on over-the-counter products that don’t work. The old adage, “you get what you pay for” absolutely applies to flea and tick control. We have extremely competitive prices on products that actually work. We also have great coupons and rebates, so check us first and keep your business local!
3. You can’t beat a guarantee. Many of the products we sell are eligible for the Satisfaction Guarantee offered by the manufacturer Merial. If you purchase and use eligible products for each of the pets in your home for three consecutive months and still have a flea problem, they’ll send Terminex to your home FOR FREE.
4. Let us examine your pets for fleas, for free. That’s just another perk of letting Noah’s Ark be your one stop shop for everything you need to have happy, healthy pets. We have the latest technology to find fleas (watch the video below)…just phone our office for the best time to stop by.
Remember, the secret to rarely seeing fleas is pretty simple…
Apply a product purchased at Noah’s Ark on each and every furry companion in your home every 30 days, year round.
If you can not afford to purchase product for each and every pet in your home, we can still offer you sound advice based on your unique situation. We’re here for you, so let us help!
We have a fantastic tool to help us in our war against fleas… it’s called Paravue. Pictured here, this device literally vacuums and stuns fleas and ticks on your pets, and then visualizes them on a magnified screen so that we can easily determine the scope of the project we’re about to tackle.
You see, before Paravue, when we flea combed pets in an exam room, hundreds of live fleas could potentially jump onto our hands and around the room. This device helps us quickly diagnose the extent of the flea infestation, and it zaps fleas with a very low charge that we can’t feel — and neither can your pets.
Watch this video to see how Paravue helps us win the war on fleas.
Ever Wonder How Strictly Indoor Felines Infest a Home with Fleas?
Last year, the worst flea infestations I saw were homes with fancy felines who never venture outdoors.
How does that happen? Let me explain in three easy steps.
Step one – The hitchhiker: The invasion starts when one very tiny flea hitchhikes into your home on your pant leg. One of the flea’s strategies for survival is to jump toward anything that moves past them – and they’re impressive athletes- able to jump more than 12″ – an amazing feat for their tiny size. Your pant leg doesn’t provide a meal, so they’ll lie in wait for a more suitable host.
Step two – Locate an all you can eat buffet: The next time your cat walks by, the flea leaps aboard, burrowing down to the skin to bite and feed. Half of fleas are female and all they do is eat and lay 30-50 eggs per day. These eggs do not stay on your pet- they roll off into your world where they’ll eventually develop into adult fleas. A single female flea can put hundreds of eggs into your environment. Eventually your cat will get a chance to eat the flea, but not before they’ve laid lots of eggs.
Step three – Lay eggs fast & furiously: The main reason cats are so often the culprits for seeding a home with lots of flea eggs is that they tend to be pretty good groomers. Through persistence they’re generally able to groom off the evidence of fleas until the population explodes and they can’t keep up…then you have a flea infestation.
Pet parents get lulled into a false sense of security because they never actually find fleas on their cats – but that doesn’t mean that fleas haven’t been able to sneak on and lay a few hundred eggs before your cat catches (and eats) them. Even strictly indoor cats should be on a flea and tick preventative year round in lovely Franklin, North Carolina.
Dog infestations happen the same way – although most dogs aren’t as fastidious as cats in their grooming habits…so you tend to catch fleas on dogs sooner.