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Fleas…For Free!

Summer is on its way with fleas - those dreadful, bouncy little parasites that we do not look forward to during the hot, humid summer season. Whether having muttgaritas with the girls, running on the beach after cute boys, or rolling around in the good ole' back yard fleas are plentiful. There are three basic types of fleas, one type being the most common here in the United States.

There are three basic types of fleas. The Ctenocephalides canis look like cat fleas, but are rare in the United States. Cat fleas Ctenocephalides felis are the parasites found mostly on us, the domestic dog and yes, we can not forget the cat.

"The cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis, is the most commonly found flea in the US and infests cats, dogs, humans, and other mammalian and avian hosts" states, Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM. Then there are the Sticktight fleas Echidnopceahaga gallina which can become a problem when pets are often around poultry. Did you know the female flea needs fresh blood in order to reproduce? 

The female flea needs fresh blood in order to produce her eggs. Once the female feeds upon the blood she then begins the life cycle where she can produce up to 40 eggs per day and up to 2000 in her lifetime, which is two to three months. These eggs will go through a host of cycles before, they too become an adult flea. The four stages of fleas are the egg,the pupa, and the imago which is the adult. This cycle from egg to adult will only take two to three weeks. Understanding the life cycle of the flea will help you win the battle against the flea.

Fleas have the ability to jump 7 inches vertically and can hide within seconds. The most common warning of fleas being present is scratching, or biting of areas within our body. Fleas can be found from the ears to between the paws. The most common areas are the head, the neck, and the tail area. You may see redness, or swollen skin and the most obvious is what is called Flea Dirtmost commonly known as, flea feces. Flea Dirt is what actually feeds the adult fleas larva.

Fleas can bite us up to 100 times a day. Fleas are not only a nuisance, but they can also cause numerous serious health problems from Anemia to infesting us with Dipylidium caninum also known as, the Tapeworm.

When treating for fleas within your home, or on us the adult flea should not be the primary concern - it is the eggs that will be your battle. The eggs, larva & pupa are the immature stages of the flea. Due to the different stages, you will find that different treatments will be necessary. Four of the many available treatments available are -

1) bathing, of which you may be able to remove the adult flea by using tweezers and with the pressure of the water, but then you are still leaving the eggs which then stay on us, hence falling off into the carpets, the couches, and numerous other places just waiting to hatch.

2) vacuuming regularly in all areas will help in removing the eggs and the flea dirt which is the food source for the next stage of the fleas development. 

3) using Flea Stoppers carpet powder will kill flea larva and adult fleas in about 3-5 days. Flea larva are killed before they ever develop into mature, egg laying adults. In addition, the product is made from specially formulated boric acid, which has a toxicity level close to everyday table salt, making it safe for everyone, but the flea!

4) using Insect Growth Regulator which is an insect growth regulator that generally are any kind of chemical that interferes with the ability of insects to proceed to the next stage of their life.

During this season take prompt and persistent action in order to keep your pet happy and healthy. This summer I know, I Marilyn Muttroe only want to enjoy my pawvulous friends, drinking muttgaritas, eating Dog Diva Chocolates, and sailing away with only the wind in my fur...and not those dreaded fleas using me to do lunch for free!

"It's Ruff Being A Dog!"
Marilyn Muttroe®

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