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Simple Steps To Flea Control

Only one is needed. A single flea bite on your dog or cat can set off a chain reaction that can send you and your pet into a literal tailspin. It is not the actual bite that causes the allergic reaction, but the saliva that the flea injects into the bite area. Saliva helps fleas feed more efficiently.

Not all pets develop flea allergies. My own dog had fleas and never showed any allergy symptoms, but my cat, oh Lord, that’s a different story. It can take a single flea bite and turn it into a two hundred dollar vet bill within a week. Her reaction to fleas is so severe that I can tell right away when one of the pests has invaded our home. Here are some common dos and don’ts for fighting these horrible little pests.

1. Use a proven flea shampoo like Adams. Follow the directions on the bottle to the letter. If it says to wait ten minutes before washing your pet, then WAIT ten minutes. Fleas are incredibly resilient. Two minutes can mean the difference between killing one and keeping it dormant for a few hours. And don’t fall back on old wives’ tales. Garlic is in the onion family and onions are toxic to pets. Garlic has been given to pets in moderation, in the belief that it will deter fleas, but too much garlic and you’re asking for potential trouble.

2. Fleas go for soft spots. When checking your pet for fleas start at the base of the tail and brush the hair against the grain to lift it up and show the skin. Continue to work your way up the back and sides in this manner. Check around the genitals and rectum. Check the knees, belly and under four legs. If your pet is wearing a collar, remove it and search the neck area. Fleas love to hide where pets can’t easily scratch.

3. If your pet is infected, start washing your pet from the throat first. Fleas will run for high ground because they somehow know that a pet will keep its head above water. They can also get into the ears and make life really miserable. Starting from the neck and saturated with flea shampoo, they have nowhere to run. I have seen severe flea infestations where the animal was submerged in a bath and two minutes later dozens of fleas are sitting on its nose. Just because the animal is wet does not mean that a flea is immobile and will suffocate. It is said that the only way to drown a flea is to drown the dog, and even then the only guaranteed death is the dog’s.

4. The one problem with using internal flea control medications like Sentinel, Frontline or other proven products is that the flea has to bite your pet and feed to kill it. A flea allergy can begin ten to fourteen days after the first bite. You can keep your pet with these products year-round, but still have a flea allergy despite your best efforts. This is why you need to monitor a potential situation using both internal and external preventive maintenance. Shampoos, flea bombs, regular grooming and simple common awareness can go a long way in keeping your pet healthy and happy.

Always check with your vet before starting any parasite treatment. They are the front line fighters of these pests and no one is more knowledgeable in controlling them.

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