The recent warmer days have definitely brought about a rush of Spring Fever... as thoughts of gardening and sunny days fill our thoughts, it's also important to remember that springtime is flea time - and there is no time like the present to start focusing on flea control. These pesky insects are incredibly hardy and difficult to eradicate once they have infested your home. The flea body is hard and nearly armor-like: it is almost impossible to "squish" them or kill them in your hand. They are adapted to adjust their life cycle to changes in the environment, choosing the most hospitable time to become active. The pupal stage flea, for example, can lie dormant in your carpet for an entire year! Female fleas can lay up to 50 eggs per day, or 500-600 eggs over several months - which explains how a flea population can increase exponentially in a short amount of time.
How do you eliminate a flea problem? Medicated shampoos, when used as directed, are effective when trying to rid your pet of a large number of fleas. However, these shampoos are non-lasting, and you may find more fleas on your pet in as little as a week. Flea dips are strong chemical rinses that last 1-2 weeks, but they are not recommended due to the high amount of residue on the animal. Both are primarily used on adult fleas. Flea collars operate either by being absorbed into the pet's subcutaneous fat layer, or producing a gas which is toxic to fleas. The collar that has absorbing chemicals is more effective. Most collars affect only adult fleas, but some collars now also contain a hormone that affects insect growth.
Flea powders and sprays last approximately 2-3 days, and also primarily target adult fleas. Spot-on treatments such as Frontline and Advantage last approximately one month. Some of these also contain insect growth regulator hormone. Oral medications such as Program and Sentinel work by affecting the breeding female flea's ability to produce hatching eggs. These medications break the flea life cycle. You may want to use a combination of treatments for your pet.
Please remember that only around 10 percent of fleas in your house are actually on your pet - the rest may be in bedding, carpeting, or furniture. Regular vacumming, washing, and application of insecticide is neccessary if you have an active flea infestation.
This week's featured pet is Buttercup, a collie/beagle mix who is about 5 years old and spent most of her life outdoors all alone. Buttercup seeks love and affection and is house trained - which is amazing for a dog who has spent so little time inside! Buttercup has a sunny disposition that matches her name; she will make a great companion for any home . In return for your love, she will provide you with endless face-licks and tail wags of contentment. Buttercup is on a low-calorie diet at this time because she is a bit plump... she would love to get some exercise with you!
With spring (and flea season!) on the way, we would like to remind you that un-neutered pets will soon be in danger of unwanted pregnancy. Please be sure that your pet is spayed or neutered so that you do not have any unexpected surprises with the warmer weather!