So You Have a Flea Problem?

Fleas are one of life’s more icky infestations. Fleas are like little vampires that prey on your pet and sometimes your family. They can also transmit diseases. The trick with getting rid of fleas lies in understanding and disrupting the flea lifecycle.

Fleas are insects–they have four life stages just like the butterflies every 4th grader learns about–just not as pretty. The four life stages are egg, larvae, pupae (cocoon), and adult. The adults spend 90% of their life on the pet that they hopped onto. The adult fleas feed off of your pet multiple times and then start laying eggs onto your pet after 24 hours. The eggs fall off of the pet when they walk, shake or move. The egg, larvae, and pupae stages are in your carpets, couches, the cracks of wood floors; pretty much anywhere your pets have been there will be young fleas. The lifecycle can take as few as a couple of weeks to as long as 7-8 months depending on temperature and humidity levels.

Timing is the key when dealing with a flea infestation. We have to kill the fleas BEFORE they get the chance to lay eggs. This means that you need to choose a product that kills adult fleas before the 24-hour deadline. We also have to keep using the products for a minimum of 4-6 months to make sure that all of the flea eggs on the premises have turned into adults so we can eliminate them.

There are numerous flea products out there, many of which are great and work well, whereas some don’t work well (like flea collars) and some are downright dangerous. The main products you need to avoid are a class called pyrethrins or permethrins. These are very old-school drugs from the 1970s. Pyrethrins and permethrins are cheaper because of their age, which is unfortunate because they are ineffective and DANGEROUS to cats. In particular, they can affect the central nervous system, causing seizures, high body temperatures, and even death. They’re not worth the price! These drugs can be identified because they all end in “-ethrin”, “-methrin”, or “-methroid”. These drugs do not work well and may be fatal to your cat!

Now that you know what not to buy, let’s talk about what we do recommend. There are many different kinds of flea preventatives on the market currently. We carry what we feel are the most effective products currently on the market. Some have tick preventatives added, while others include heartworm prevention. Stop by or call so we can ask more questions about your pet’s environment and lifestyle, and we’ll help match your pet up with the best flea preventative for their needs!