Nasty, Unwelcome & Irritating:  What You Should Know About Fleas

By on June 18, 2015

The word parasite literally means “one who eats from the table of another” and is an old Greek word that was applied to sycophants or ‘professional guests’ who befriended the rich and ate at the top table. With that in mind, it is imperative that modern dog owners such as ourselves are armed with the knowledge to spot the presence of parasites before they outstay their welcome as our dog’s uninvited visitor, says Simon Foden.

Fleas, worms, mites and ticks are all words that strike an unpleasant chord with dog owners. As much as we would like to pretend that these things only exist on television and in tropical countries, it is an unfortunate fact that the domestic dog encounters many parasites throughout his life, and is likely to suffer the affects of one or more type at least once in his life. As with most canine health issues, education and understanding is key to making sure parasites don’t get the better of your dog and so this month we will be taking an in-depth look at the flea.

Did you know that it's estimated that at any time only five percent of the flea population have found a host, the rest are still looking? Scary thought.

clicker training dogs

Fleas

Life Cycle: Anything from two weeks to eight months, depending on conditions.
Symptoms: Scratching, biting, bleeding and fur loss.
Cause: Lack of prevention.
Main Types of Treatment: Flea treatment/repellent, shampoos, flea collar, room fogger spray (for the household).

Fleas are possibly the most common canine hosted parasite, and are also relatively easy to spot. They pass through a life cycle that has four stages. They are egg, larva, pupa and adult. The length of the life cycle depends on the conditions it encounters as a guest on your pet, for example hotter outdoor weather or central heating indoor during the colder months can lengthen the typical flea cycle.

Temperature, food source and intervention are all factors in determining whether your dog will have a couple of days worth of scratching or months worth of intense, localised pain, infections and the risk of further infestations.

New 4fleas Spot-On – Dual Action, from Johnson's

A fast acting spot-on suitable for both cats and dogs from 8 weeks of age, it kills fleas on contact not only on the pet but also fleas and flea larvae in the area around animals in the home e.g. bedding and resting areas etc.
It comes in a 2 treatment pack offering 8 weeks protection, containing Imidacloprid. Available now exclusively from all good pet shops.

For Small Dogs:

For Medium Dogs:

For Large Dogs:

Priced from £7.99

Find Out More

The female flea will feed on your dog’s blood. Once she has done this, her next priority is to lay her eggs, about fifteen or twenty at a time and usually up to six hundred in total. She will lay them loosely on your dog, and they tend to drop out anywhere. So you may see fleas emerging from your carpet, upholstery, clothes and even on your person. Then the life cycle continues, so if you think your dog may have fleas you are best to not only treat them, but also the home itself using a treatment or fogger spray.

The larvae are blind. They feed on bits of skin that fall from our bodies on to the ground, as well as waste matter from adult fleas, hair and other organic matter. They mature when it is safe for them to do so. In the meantime they will remain inside their cocoon until they can detect either heat, which indicates the presence of blood, or vibrations which indicate that they have found a living host from which they can feed.

Unfortunately for us dog owners, fleas have the capability to make our lives unpleasant too. They can and will switch host many times during their life cycle, and that itching you feel when you have a flea, is the parasite taking a meal.

Although flea infestations are not considered life threatening, they can cause dogs and their owners distinct distress if left untreated so it's best to take preventative measures all year round.

Comments

comments

About K9 Magazine

K9 Magazine is your digital destination helping you have a happier, healthier dog. Here you'll find advice on everything from dog training to dog diet advice as well as interviews with well known dog lovers and insightful features on the broadest range of canine lifestyle topics.

One Comment

  1. JAWAD MAHDI

    June 18, 2015 at 8:12 am

    I am dog owner (GSD) from Karachi Pakistan. Unfortunately, currently going through agony of terrible tick attack. I have used medium to strong pesticide including the famous and very expensive tick powder/s but none is working the tick just keep coming.
    Current weather is extreme hot around 35 to 40 centigrade

    Can anyone help me to come out of this mess just can’t see my dogs suffering

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read previous post:
Real Life: Living With a Deaf Dog

As dogs age, sometimes their hearing fades or just becomes more selective. K9 Magazine's Bonnie always heard the sound of...

Close