What Are the Causes of Fleas?
If you are a pet owner you may be asking how do dogs catch fleas. It is a very common problem and often a complete surprise. You may be sitting watching TV and all of a sudden you see a little visitor. They can be easy to see if you have full-grown adult fleas. They bounce about looking for their food source. Alternatively, you may feel the little nip of a flea biting you. It’s not a bite though, the flea injects a feeding tube to draw blood from capillary vessels.
How Do Fleas Get Passed on?
Dogs are sociable animals so they enjoy mixing with other dogs. When they are in the park they will happily play with other dogs running around and play-fighting. Whilst this is going on they come in contact with each other whilst playing. If the dogs they play with are carriers of fleas then the inevitable could happen. A flea could jump across and it is as simple as that. Your dog then takes the flea home and it’s the start of a flea infestation.
If however your dog has been treated for fleas then this could resolve the situation immediately as the flea could try to have a feed and immediately jump off as the treatment has done its job. That is a could and nothing is definite. There are two main treatments out there, Frontline and Advocate. In my experience from what I have learnt over the years, it is best if you switch from time to time but do not quote me on that. It is just what I experience from pet owners.
The Flea Life Cycle
The flea has four stages to its life cycle, Egg, Larvae, Pupa and Adult. A flea infestation grows from an adult. If we look at the scenario above where a flea jumps onto a dog whilst playing. The dog goes home and whilst this happens the flea takes a feed. Once the flea has had a blood feed it will jump off and go and lay some eggs. After a little while the flea will get hungry and then go for another feed. It finds its victims by body warmth.
This cycle goes on so lots of eggs are being laid. Normally this would be in cracks and crevices, the most commonplaces are the skirting boards and in the carpets. The eggs are impenetrable and will sit dormant, waiting to ensure they have a food source before hatching. It is heat vibration and noise that will encourage a flea egg to hatch. These then go through their stages until they are adults and start feeding and laying more eggs. That is then the flea infestation established.
Other Causes Of Fleas.
There are other ways dogs can catch fleas. Normally this will include another host. Fleas thrive in long grass or overgrown gardens. If your garden has areas that are overgrown, they will carry scent and dogs are inquisitive. They will get in these areas as their sense of smell is amazing in comparison to humans. This may be the cause of the infestation. Another common problem is other visitors to the garden such as foxes. It goes without saying foxes may carry fleas. In an urban environment, foxes are becoming more and more prevalent so it is a consideration not to be ruled out. That said, there is no treatment on the market to spray on the garden to stop this. A well-maintained lawn should help the situation.
How to Reduce Fleas
So now we have answered the question of how do dogs catch fleas, what should be done? Well firstly if your dog is not undergoing regular flea treatments then this is a good place to start. Decide on the treatment you wish to use and get your dog treated. Next is the garden, by doing some general tidying this can help. Ideally get the grass cut short. Next is housekeeping, give the house a good hoover. When you do this concentrate on the edges of the room at the skirting board. Remember to empty the hoover directly into an outside bin. Also washing your dog’s bed regularly is good. Finally, regularly inspect your dog for fleas.
If You Still Have Fleas
So obviously if you are thorough you may resolve your own flea infestation. Sometimes however it is going to need a bit more than the steps above. I am aware that there are lots of different flea sprays on the market and my advice to you is to be aware. Some of these products are upwards of £20 and some customers tell me they have gone through 10 cans over a period of several weeks trying to resolve it themselves. The problem with this is that aerosol cans only work here and now. Remembering what I said about the flea egg, a spray can will not solve the flea infestation. so you end up buying more.
The reality is a flea treatment from a professional could work out cheaper than buying lots of cans of spray and DIY treatment. On many occasions, my customers have already spent close to my treatment charges on home treatments so it is worth considering. Professional treatment from Pest-Tech Ltd involves a fog and a spray. The difference is the spray is residual, which means it keeps working for weeks after the treatment. If you need further advice on treatments and the lifecycle of fleas, or have any other questions, then please give us a call. For more information on fleas visit our flea page.