Fleas are parasites that suck blood from pets and humans. Dog fleas can be a real nuisance and can cause many health related problems in humans and your dog. Controlling dog fleas is a two step process where you eliminate the dog fleas from your dog and do the same with the environment.
The life-cycle of the flea begins with an adult flea laying eggs on the skin of the dog. These eggs are very small, white in color and hatch within 14 to 28 days. They will fall off the dog and get into the environment whether it’s carpeting in the house or grass out in the yard.
The dog fleas eggs hatch into larva which feed on adult flea feces and other organic materials they find in their environment. They thrive in warm, dark areas such as in the carpet of outside in shady areas where the dogs like to lie.
Next they turn into flea pupae and wrap themselves in a sticky silk-like cocoon. They become adult dog fleas in 5 to 10 days. The adults do not come out of the pupae unless stimulated to do so by pressure, heat or carbon dioxide. An adult flea cannot live more than a couple of days without feeding on blood but can survive up to nine months in the pupae phase. During this time in the development cycle they resist insecticides.
Adult dog fleas are attracted to light and will emerge looking for a host to feed on. Once they get some blood they can start laying eggs in as little as two days, laying up to forty a day and living up to three weeks. Fleas can carry disease and other parasites such as tapeworms.
There are many ways to treat the problem on your dog. Flea collars are only moderately successful and may cause other skin problems from the chemicals they contain. Topical ointments that are applied on the back of the dog between the shoulder blades so they cannot lick it off work very well and are sold based on the weight of the dog. Oral products render the larvae sterile breaking the life-cycle. The oral products are sold at your veterinarians and work well also. Flea shampoos or dips were the way to treat years ago and still exists. These shampoos and dips contain chemicals thereby being possibly harmful to a dog allergic to these. Same issues with flea powders and flea combs are a good for spotting the little buggers they are fairly ineffective to get rid of them. Look for items that have IGR (insect growth regulators) which disrupt the life-cycle process.
Products to treat your house are foggers which do not get in the hidden areas where the larva flourish. There are sprays that can be affective but make sure the area is dry before exposing to humans or pets. Powders can work well and contain IGRs but follow the directions carefully. Do not use these household items on your pet directly. Always vacuum often making sure you get rid of the debris immediately after you finish the task.