Owning a pet involves a lot of responsibility, and this is perhaps particularly true if you own a dog or cat. Dogs and cats are among the most common types of pets in America, and they’re valued for a number of reasons. People sometimes feel as if they can bond more easily with a dog or cat than a small rodent, fish, or reptile. Furthermore, the commonness of these pets means that it’s easier to find the proper supplies for keeping them, from food to pet carriers. Virtually every pet hospital treats dogs and cats — but of course, you don’t want your pet to have to visit a veterinarian anytime soon. Some of the more common ailments that plague pets can evolve into much bigger issues over time. Simply ignoring a problem with your pet or putting off going to a pet hospital could mean that your pet will end up seeing an emergency vet, which is the last thing any loving pet owner wants. This can happen fairly frequently with parasites like fleas and ticks. A lot of pet owners don’t even know that their pets are suffering from fleas, and aren’t aware of the more serious complications that can come with them. Below, we’ll look into the characteristics of flea infestations, how they happen, and why you as a pet owner need to take them very seriously.
Why Are Fleas So Common?
Fleas are so common that many pet hospitals treat preventative flea medication like a “must” for dogs and cats, whether the animals are indoor or outdoor pets. Fleas are known to have several life stages, including the egg stage, the pupa stage, the larva stage, and the biting adult stage. Despite the fact that only one of these stages can directly affect your pet, the other stages are just as dangerous because of the fact that they’re less noticeable. A flea egg is almost impossible to spot, and a female flea can lay up to 2,000 eggs over the course of her life. One of the reasons why fleas are so difficult to get rid of once they’re inside your home is precisely because they reproduce so frequently, and are difficult to see. Starvation doesn’t do much for a flea at first either — a flea can last 100 days without a “meal”. But when they are able to eat, they eat a lot; a female flea can consume up to 15 times her body weight on a daily basis. So a single flea can cause your pet a lot of irritation and even pain.
What Are The Complications Of Flea Bites?
Flea bites by themselves are already very harmful for pets, as they cause a lot of irritation and unnecessary stress. With that being said, there are also more serious side effects of flea bites. Some pets are allergic to fleas, and develop dermatitis beyond the usual reaction to bites. Dermatitis causes even more itching, and many pets cause their skin to become infected over time. Some pets even contract serious staph infections due to excessive itching, and can become quite ill due to such infections. The open wounds caused by flea bites also can make it easier for pets to develop other parasites, like tapeworms. Anemia is another common side effect of flea bites — if a pet is bitten excessively, they may actually become iron deficient. It’s important to note that, should you let your pet’s flea infestation get out of hand, you could also face consequences like having your pet removed from your home by authorities.
How Can I Fight Flea Infestations?
First and foremost, you should prevent flea infestations by having your pet on a regular medication regimen; this can be found at most pet hospitals. If your pet has fleas, you can also go to a regular vet or a veterinary specialty center for the best possible treatments, which may involve not only medications but baths. Furthermore, make sure that your home is rid of fleas — so that everyone is safe.