Flea infestations can drive you and your pets up a wall — and pose serious health risks. Steve Dale of Steve Dale’s Pet World sat down with Dr. Michael Dryden, a veterinary parasitologist from Kansas State University, to talk about how you can protect yourself and your pets from fleas. (Watch the video of the interview above.)
Here are some fast facts about fleas you should know:
- One flea can create an infestation: A single female flea can lay 40-50 eggs a day, Dr. Dryden says. So once a flea is in your home, the population can explode quickly and be hard to get rid of.
- Indoor-only pets can still get fleas: “We see permanently indoor cats with fleas all the time,” Dr. Dryden says. Fleas can travel into your house on the bottoms of
shoes or on other animals, such as vermin. Petfinder staffer Jane Harrell‘s indoor-only cats once got fleas from a neighbor’s cat who roamed her apartment building’s halls. “He used to sit outside our door, waiting for scratches and treats,” she says. “When he got fleas, the fleas came under the door and went straight to my cats.”
- You need to treat all the dogs and cats in your home for fleas: If you suspect any of your pets have fleas, it’s important to administer antiparasitic to all of them. “The fleas that are on our cats are the same fleas that are on our dogs,” says Dr. Dryden. “The single most common problem we face [when fighting an infestation] is that in multiple-pet households the people just don’t treat every dog and every cat every 30 days.”
- It can take up to three months to get rid of fleas: “A lot of people expect for it to be over in a couple of days or a couple of weeks,” Dr. Dryden says, “and it just doesn’t happen that way.”
- Your vet will know what products work best against fleas in your region. “Have your veterinarian recommend what product they prefer within their area, and then apply that product to every dog and every cat in your house for every 30 days,” Dr. Dryden says.
Tell us: Have you ever found fleas on your dog or cat?
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