It’s still flea and tick season in Western Pennsylvania, so be sure to keep up with your regular monthly preventative medications to be sure your pet is protected from pesky critters. If you use topical preventatives, be sure they are given at least 24 hours before your dog’s boarding or daycare visit so it has time to dry. Since most dogs use their mouths constantly during play, this is a safety measure so that other dogs don’t come in contact with the medication on your dog’s neck accidentally during a play session.
Aside from the terrible itch and discomfort fleas cause, they can make your pets very ill. Fleas can cause skin infections, hair loss, anemia, and even tapeworm.
The life cycle of the flea explains why they can be so hard to control. A female flea may produce 150 to 300 eggs per week, and one microscopic flea egg can start an entire colony. While the adult flea literally digs into her host, her eggs fall off the pet into bedding, carpet, furniture, yard … anywhere the pet goes.
Pets pick up fleas from other infested animals and from the environment. The insect’s strong legs allow it to jump from the ground onto a pet, from one pet to another or from the pet to you. The average life span of an adult flea is about 6 weeks (adults spend most of their life on the pet) and don’t leave voluntarily!
Flea control begins with prevention. By taking action before fleas are abundant, pet owners can avoid severe infestations later in the season.
Today’s preventative treatments are highly effective and easy to use. The most effective products kill fleas in all stages — as eggs, larvae or adults. Applied to the skin at the back of the pet’s neck, the chemicals are absorbed and spread through the body to fight fleas and all stages of four major ticks — Brown dog ticks, American dog ticks, Lone Star ticks and deer ticks. While highly effective (research shows Frontline kills 98-100% of fleas on pets within 24 hours), these products must be used monthly for the duration of the flea season in your region. Not all flea preventatives are created equally. In fact, some can have severe side effects. Check with your vet for their recommendations.
And, in-season or out, it’s important to regularly check your pet for telltale signs of scratching and flea residue. Since fleas are about the size of the head of a pin, and their eggs look like grains of salt, they can be very difficult to spot. In fact, experts estimate that for every flea you see on your pet, there are at least ten more that you don’t see.
Regular professional grooming can help catch flea problems early. Our professional groomers in Pittsburgh are trained to recognize the signs of parasite problems and will examine your pet before grooming. If fleas are found, the groomer can determine the proper medicated shampoos and recommend treatments.
Prevention is possible, and worth the small investment and effort. With the proper products and a good grooming routine, you can prevent your pet from picking up these pesky pests!
K9 Kingdom, with our Doggie Daycare, offers a fun, safe, social group play environment for dogs. Serving communities around northern Pittsburgh, including Cranberry, Bradford Woods, Allison Park, and McCandless, K9 Kingdom is a full service pet care facility located in Wexford. We cater specifically to dog owners who love to spoil their pets and treat them like family members. Contact us today at 724.935.DOGS or visit our website at myk9kingdom.com for more information.