Following are two articles about fleas - first, Everything you always wanted to know about fleas, and second, How to attack a flea problem. You can print this page by going to file: print.


Everything you always wanted to know about fleas

How do your pet(s) get fleas?

-           Animals get fleas from some other flea-infested animal such as a stray dog or cat, a neighbor’s dog or cat, and wildlife such as opossums and raccoons going through your neighborhood.

-           When these animals pass through, the female adult flea is laying eggs, making them rain down from the animal to your environment. Female adult fleas are known as “the living salt shaker.”

-           Fleas can also be carried from your pant legs into your environment if you have traveled somewhere there is a flea infestation.


What are the signs that my pet(s) may have fleas?

-           Excessive itching or scratching.

-           Adult fleas on your pet’s skin or in your house.

-           Flea feces or “flea dirt” on your pet’s skin. You can know if it is flea dirt if it dissolves to blood when wet.

-           Flea eggs that look like white ovals the size of table salt in your pet’s fur.

-           Not all pets will scratch or chew with fleas. To check for fleas look on the skin around the tail, rump, and belly.  Adult fleas are not easy to spot so check for flea dirt.  If flea dirt is present, you do have fleas-even if you never see them.


Medical issues caused from fleas:

-           The most common issue is flea allergy dermatitis.  When fleas are feeding they inject saliva into the skin and the saliva causes an allergy.  This allergy causes your pet to scratch and lose hair.  It only takes a couple of bites to cause this reaction.

-           Bad flea infestations, especially on puppies and kittens, can cause the animal to become anemic and the animal can die from the heavy infestation.

-           Fleas can and commonly transmit tapeworms to our pets.  Tapeworms are transmitted by your pets ingesting the fleas.

-           Fleas can also bite people causing an itching bite or reaction.  Fleas do not generally like people but they will bite if desperate for a blood meal.


Flea Facts:

-           There are over 2,200 species of fleas.

-           Fleas can consume 15 times their weight in blood.

-           Visible fleas are the adult fleas and they make up only 5% of the total flea infestation!!

-           An adult flea can lay 50 eggs per day!!

-           Flea eggs are NOT attached to your pet.  The eggs fall off and hatch on the ground, in rugs, carpet, bedding, upholstery, or cracks in the floor.  Most will hatch within 2 days.

-           Fleas are extremely hardy animals that have been around for over 100 million years.

-           Flea season usually begins during springtime and continues through early fall, but thanks to our changing climate fleas are beginning to survive all year round.

-           The flea is capable of surviving in outdoor temperatures as low as the upper 30s.  As long as an adult flea can find a host to fee from, it can stay warm and healthy through the cold season.

-           We say treat all year round because flea pupae can stay protected from freezing cold by staying in their cocoons until it is warm enough to come out.  The pupae can remain dormant for over a year until its surroundings have reached ideal temperatures.  Once conditions are ideal the pupae will complete development and emerge from their cocoons, resulting in a surge of activity both on and off your pets.

-           Only SUSTAINED cold (less than 30 degrees) and low humidity levels will kill the flea eggs, larvae and adult fleas.

-           Flea eggs have a tough shell that can resist the first round of flea treatment.

-           Cold temperatures outside do not protect your home or pet(s) from fleas.  In fact your home’s warmth could increase the fleas indoors and on your pet(s).

-           Once the female adult flea lays eggs on the host she will fall off, leaving the eggs to mutate through the other cycles.  This process will continue on the host pet(s) continuously until the flea population has been taken care of entirely.


How to attack a flea problem


1)       Treat ALL of your pets, indoor and outdoor.

2)       Follow the directions on the flea products and be sure to use them all year round.

Here at the clinic we carry a variety of flea treatments for your dogs and cats.

*Treatments available for dogs and cats is Comfortis and Frontline.

Comfortis- This product is a flea pill that is given every 30 days to your dog or cat.  The pill will ONLY kill the adult fleas that are on your pet, but it will begin killing them within the first 30 minutes.  This pill will kill the new adult fleas before they have a chance to lay eggs.  Be sure to give this pill to puppies 14 weeks or older and give on a full stomach. 

Frontline- This is a topical flea product that goes on the skin, in one spot, between the shoulder blades.  This is also an every 30 day flea treatment.  Frontline is used to kill adult fleas, flea eggs and larvae, ticks and chewing lice as well.  Be sure to bathe pet before applying treatment, or you will wash the product off.  This product is approved for pets 8 weeks or older.

*Other treatments that are available just for cats is Advantage II and Revolution.

Advantage II- This is a topical flea product that is applied the same as Frontline.  This is an every 30 day treatment.  Advantage will kill all the flea life stages, and begin doing so within 12 hours of application.  Be sure to bathe cat before applying treatment, or you will wash the product off. This product is approved for cats 8 weeks or older.

Revolution- This is a topical flea product that is applied the same as Frontline and Advantage II. This is an every 30 day treatment.  Revolution will kill adult fleas and prevent flea eggs from hatching for one month.  This product also prevents heartworm disease, treats and controls ear mites, and treats and controls hookworms and roundworms in cats.  Be sure to bathe cat before applying treatment or you will wash the product off.  This product is approved for pets 8 weeks or older.

*We also carry Frontline Spray, Ovitrol Spray, and Mycodex Spray.



1)       Treat EVERYWHERE in your house-even if your pet(s) does not go into certain areas because you can transport them on your pant legs and the pet can just walk to an area once and drop fleas.

2)       When treating indoors it is important to treat ALL bedding in soapy, hot water, especially if the pet(s) spend time on your bed. 

3)       ALL carpeting should be vacuumed thoroughly and vacuum bag or canister should be sprayed down or thrown away so that the eggs do not hatch in your vacuum. Steam cleaning the carpet can kill some of the larvae as well, however vacuuming and shampooing the carpets will still leave a good percentage of live fleas so some sort of chemical treatment will be necessary.

4)       Use a chemical treatment such as a spray or fogger that is pet friendly ALL OVER you house.  This will usually take more than one treatment.  Here at the clinic we have a spray called Mycodex that kills all flea stages, ticks, roaches, ants, spiders, and many other insects.  One can covers 500 square feet.  We also have a fogger that will kill adult fleas and ticks, stop flea eggs from hatching and it treats 6,000 cubic feet.

5)       Even if you have no carpeting in your home be sure to still treat ALL furniture, baseboards, windows, doors, under cabinets etc. Anywhere that may be dark, warm, and humid.

6)       When treating ALWAYS spray approximately 12 inches under your furniture and bedding because larvae will crawl to all dark spaces.



1)       Search for any nests that may be outside. Cut down all the tall grass, trim back bushes and shrubs, and rake up any leaf litter under bushes because this will be where most of your nests are located.

2)       In most situations you will find fleas under shrubs and bushes, under porches, or in shaded protected habitats that are dark, warm and moist.

3)       Use approved, pet-friendly insecticides that can be applied under shrubs, under bushes, in crawl spaces, along fence lines, and around outside doors and windows.  Be sure to follow all instructions on the label of your insecticide.

4)       To be on the safe side allow 3-4 hours for product to dry before letting your pet(s) back outside.

5)       If you pet(s) travel in a vehicle with you BE SURE to treat all vehicles that the pet(s) has been in.