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Tips For Keeping Your Dog or Cat Happy (and happy) During Flea Season


    In many regions of the U.S., flea season lasts longer than just spring and summer. Though the warm weather is where they thrive, it doesn't take much to provide an ideal environment for these parasites, which puts animal wellness at risk. As long as the weather is over 60 degrees, and the adult fleas have a host to get their blood from, they will reproduce. In order for their larvae to hatch, it only has to be 50 degrees, which means that fleas have the ability to reproduce and live inside houses all year long.

    Out of the 200 varieties of fleas that populate the continent, the one that mainly causes problems with pets is the cat flea. Despite its name, the cat flea will bite both cats and dogs. It is annoying to deal with fleas, but being more than an inconvenience, they can carry various diseases that can affect both humans and pets. Fleas that carry Bartonella henselae can infect cats, and though felines don't suffer symptoms, they can transmit this disease to humans through bites or scratches.  Additionally, fleas can cause tapeworms in pets and are sometimes responsible for taking so much blood from kittens that they become anemic. Thus, it's advisable that you take care of a flea infestation as soon as you notice the signs. 

    So what are the best ways to ensure your pet stays flea-free this season?

    Tidy up 
    The last thing you want are fleas in the house. It's important to keep the areas in the house where your pet spends most time as clean as you can. Fleas have been known to make their homes in rugs and carpets, so vacuuming is crucial. It’s also important to wash your pets’ bedding approximately once a week to reduce the risk of fleas setting up shop. Taking these precautions will not only keep your pet comfortable and happy, they might save you some extra work down the line.

    Focus on fur
    Pet grooming is essential to preventing a flea infestation, and so is having the proper pet supplies for it. Properly combing your dog's or cat's fur with a special brush can keep you mindful of the what's going on in there, which, you would hope, would be nothing. However, if you see some fleas in the fur or find them hopping around on the comb, I wouldn't panic, as there are many ways to remedy the situation.

    Traditional methods
    Though flea collars have been around for a long time, experts still laud their efficacy. Putting one on your dogs or cats usually ensures that they will be flea free for up to seven months at a time, while also killing the egg larvae, preventing future infestations. If there is a certain spot on your pet's fur that you know is being bitten by fleas, apply some flea drops to their coat to get rid of them fast. 

    (Sources I used)

    https://insects.tamu.edu/fieldguide/bimg213.html

    http://www.ehow.com/about_4586288_flea-season.html

    http://www.myfoxaustin.com/story/22648537/flea-season-hits-hard-this-summer

    http://www.healthypetu.com/medical/skin/hot_tips_for_keeping_fleas_and.aspx

    http://www.1800petmeds.com/education/faq-fleas-dog-cat-7.htm

     

    About the Author:

    Jennifer Dombkowski  - Jen has worked at Hartz for more than six years. In that time she has worked on Dog Pads, Flea & Tick products and digital marketing.  In 2007, she adopted the love of her life, Bosco the Chihuahua mix, from Ramapo Bergen Animal Refuge.

    Photo Credit: http://www.napervilleanimalhospital.com/blog/category/fleas-and-ticks/#.UlgqMhCrHtg