Fleas are a common type of external parasite that pose a threat to the health of animals and people. Fleas are more common in households where dogs and cats reside, as fleas often come into the home on animals and hide well in their fur. It is important to administer flea treatment regularly to animals that go outdoors, rather than wait for an infestation to begin. Once an animal has fleas, fleas are much more difficult to control and can cause diseases or conditions.
Treating Pets for Fleas
It is important to treat all pets for fleas because pets often carry fleas into the home, then the fleas jump off and infiltrate furnishings or feed on other pets. Once a flea has had a blood meal, the flea can lay eggs, which can begin an infestation. Once fleas have begun to lay eggs in the home, flea control becomes much more difficult. Fleas in the pupa stage live within a pesticide-resistant cocoon and can subsist in this state for up to 9 months if not disturbed. When fleas emerge from this stage, the adult stage has been reached and fleas are able to lay eggs and start an infestation.
Types of Flea Treatment
There are several types of flea treatments for pets. Shampoos, powders, topical ointments and orally administered pills are some of the most common. Some flea treatment products can be obtained over the counter, but many are only available at veterinary offices. Veterinarians can explain the differences in each type of product. Some products may help to prevent other types of pest infestations, such as worms or ticks, as well as fleas.
Best Flea Treatment
The type of flea treatment that is best depends on the animal and the situation. As a preventative measure for animals that have never had fleas, medication that kills only adult fleas may suffice. However, animals that may have been exposed to flea eggs or larvae may require a treatment that also kills eggs and larvae. Animals that are sensitive to topical products may need to take an orally administered product.
Environmental Flea Control
In addition to treating animals for fleas, environmental control is also important. Flea treatment is most effective when both the environment and the pet are treated because fleas in all stages of the life cycle are more likely to be eliminated, preventing future infestations. Environmental flea control is best done by professionals. Pesticides to prevent fleas only last so long, so environmental flea control should be done on a regular, periodic basis. When pet owners are proactive, flea control can be easy and effective.