My current foster cat and her six adorable kittens came with baggage. Each one of the little darlings had fleas that not only causes them to scratch, but could also lead to tapeworms.
It is easy for cats and dogs to pick up fleas, so we need to be prepared to safely deal with them.
First, determine if your pet has fleas. You may have heard the expression, “go over it with a fine-tooth comb.” Well that is exactly what you need to do.
A flea comb has very fine metal teeth that will catch a tiny flea where a normal comb will not. If you catch a flea, be quick to drop it into the toilet or pinch it between your thumb nails before it can jump back onto your pet or onto you.
Just because you don’t see any fleas doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t have them. A dog or cat that is allergic to them can react severely to a single bite.
As you are combing for fleas, check for flea “dirt,” which usually appears as fine black dots. It is actually flea waste, and if your pet has fleas, you will generally find flea dirt at the base of his tail, which is typically a prime location for your pet’s scratching and chewing.
Animals with flea allergies often have thinning or loss of hair and may develop “hot spots” or areas of inflamed and infected skin.
The good news is that there are a number of effective topical and oral medications you can get from your veterinarian to kill both the adult fleas and the flea larvae before it can mature into biting fleas. I love the new Seresto collars for dogs and cats, which last eight months or more.
Be careful of over-the-counter flea medications, as fleas are resistant to some of the most popular, leading owners to use too much of the product or too frequently, which can cause medical complications for your pet. With your veterinarian’s help, you can find a product that is both safe and effective.
You will also want to treat your dog house, pet bedding, carpeting and upholstery in order to get rid of your uninvited visitors. Foggers are generally effective in clearing a whole house infestation, but be