Fleas are the most common external parasite seen in Statesboro and Bulloch County pets. If left untreated they can not only make your pet miserable, they can cause infections and major diseases. Here are some warning signs, and tips to get rid of these pests.
What are fleas?
Fleas are common external parasites that live on your pet's skin, relying on them for survival. Unless steps are taken to break their lifecycle, adult fleas will continue to reproduce and thrive on your pet - and in your house.
What signs of flea infestation should I look for?
Cat and dogs can be allergic to fleas saliva which is why they will start scratching once being bit. Just one flea bite can cause your pet to scratch excessively and become very upset.
Besides scratching, red bumps or pimples may appear on their belly, at the base of their tail or on their behind, on their groin or under their legs. The constant itching and scratching of these areas will cause dry skin and hair loss. Sores and infections can develop and lead to more severe diseases if fleas are left untreated.
How can I check my pet for fleas?
Adult fleas are small and brown. It's relatively easy to spot them moving around on your pet without any special gadgets.
It's a good idea to check your pet's brush or comb while you're grooming them. Having your pet lie on their side will let you have a closer look at areas with thin hair, such as their tummy or armpits.
You may see "flea dirt". This looks similar to tiny grains of sand, or black pepper when wet. To check for flea dirt (feces), use a fine-tooth flea comb available at your vet's office to comb along your pet's back and underbelly. By standing your pet on a white towel or cloth while brushing them, you will be able to easily see any black droppings that fall off them.
What if I can’t find any fleas, but my pet is still scratching?
If there are no signs of fleas but your pet is still scratching, schedule an appointment with your vet for a skin test. This will allow your vet to check for flea allergies among others. Your pet may be reacting to another type of allergy that's making them uncomfortable.
If my cat or dog does have fleas, how do I get rid of them?
A number of safe and effective treatments can be used to eliminate fleas, including shampoos, sprays, powders and topical liquids. You may need to visit your vet for prescription creams and antibiotics if your pet's case is more severe.
Early treatment and prevention are the first methods of choice to ensure your dog doesn't develop more serious issues in the future, as a result of fleas.