Solving Your Puppy Flea Problems : 07427 626686
Are Fleas Normal On Puppies?
Dog fleas are a common nuisance pest of young dogs or puppies. The normal behaviour of a puppy infested or annoyed by fleas is biting and scratching. The worst possible scenario is a flea allergy.
Flea Allergies can cause significant discomfort to your puppy, and they are often typified by the presence of raised angry looking blotches in the areas of skin worse affected.
What's more, if the damaged skin becomes increasingly infected, it can spell disaster for the puppy and even result in death.
So How Do You Know Your Puppy Has Fleas?
There are a number of important things to consider and look for when it comes to assessing the presence or severity of fleas on your puppy.
The first thing most people notice first is dark brown speckles in the fur when you are handling or grooming the puppy. If the specks move and try to evade you, then you know these are fleas.
What many people don't realise is that the presence of dark brown/black speckles deep in the fir that do not run away are referred to as flea dirt. In essence this is the faeces of the flea. Yes you guessed it, the digested blood meal from your puppy - flea poo!
Where Did The Puppy Fleas Come From?
First up - having fleas does not mean you're dirty nor does it mean you're neglecting your puppy. Because most puppy's inherit fleas form the mother.
Fleas are a natural part of having animals and it doesn't matter how careful you are, almost every animal at some time or other will fall prey to a parasite.
Most people reading this will have had or at the very least been exposed to head lice as children and anyone who has traveled will likely have bumped into Bed Bugs or mosquitoes.
You can't avoid these parasitic insects, they are highly adapted opportunistic feeders that over millions of years have become accomplished hitchhikers so don't feel that your flea problems are unique, they are normal!
Puppy fleas are not going to be isolated to your dog. They are going to be all over the place and they are going to be embedded in your home. The worst thing about dog fleas for us is that they are not fussy feeders.
They are not only among the most widespread flea species on the planet but also one of the worst nuisance insects our customers seem to fall prey too.
What is essential is good housekeeping. Alright so we have already said having fleas does not mean you are dirty, so why then the emphasis on cleaning?
Well the answer lies in the kind of cleaning we routinely carry out. We just don't clean the right areas often enough and if you do then place a well earned pat on your back.
First up its time to take a lesson in chemistry. If you heat a protein it will denature, which is a posh term for its knackered.
So if you heat red meat it will start turning from pink to grey once it hits 55C - 60C. This means that most tumble dryers will make a big mess of puppy fleas at every stage of their life-cycle.
So cook the little buggers on any washable textiles either in the washing machine or the dryer. The next step is to give your floors a very thorough vacuum. What's important hear is an understanding of dog flea larvae.
They like warm areas, dark areas, dusty areas. Most of the dust that accumulates in our homes is skin flakes.
Found in those areas under and behind sofas, TV cabinets and especially around the edges of the room or where your darling puppy sleeps is a hot spot for these pesky little maggots, trying to develop into adult biting fleas. So Vacuum well - really well!
How Can I get Rid Of The Puppy Fleas?
Once you have cleaned you can deliver chemicals straight onto your carpets and rugs confident in the knowledge that the chemical will reach the fleas etc.
The trouble is that most amateur products just don't cut the mustard when it comes to heavy dog flea populations. Sure you should try one or two cans, but if they fail it's time to consider professional control. Any chemical you use must have residual activity.
If it only kills the adults then you are going to need a lot of cans, because the adults will be emerging from the safety of pupae where chemicals can't hurt them so easily for weeks and even months.
The next thing to note is the presence in any chemical you might buy of an IGR or Insect growth Regulator to prevent flea larvae from becoming adult biting fleas. Don't be fooled by sales chat - check the label - RESIDUAL and IGR.
How Do I Treat My Puppy?
Be very careful when considering chemical control on a puppy, especially those under six weeks of age. The best advice is to take the puppy to the vet and get them seen, assessed and if appropriate treated there.
Flea combs are also useful and very cheep compared to the vet, but if the problem persists don't ignore the expertise of your local vet.
Often a bowl of hot water placed in an infested room will encourage adult fleas to jump in as they are attracted to the heat and humidity, which is why people often report finding fleas in the bath or shower tray. Another method is the introduction of the treated mother. She will surprisingly quickly mop up fleas on the cheap.
Finally it is important to remember that although every flea problem may not be entirely unique, the time it takes to bring it under control can vary significantly.
The worst and most persistent infestations seem to occur in properties where friends and relatives have kindly looked after infested pets. Once the animal leaves they are the remaining food source and they don't do Frontline for us (yet).
In most cases expect to be 95% flea free within 28 days and completely free within three months. Fleas can remain dormant for a year, so you won't always get every one of them, first time. Another statistic which is commonly passed around is that for every adult flea there are about ten more developing into biting adults - which is nice!
Common Sources of Fleas:
One of the big questions our customers often ask in relation to fleas affecting their homes or offices is very simply "Where do fleas come from"?
For the answer you need to engage in a small amount of detective work. You need to think when you first started experiencing the symptoms of bites, such as raised itchy patches on the skin or others in the same area reported seeing them or getting bitten by them. Once you have a little bit of a time line you need to ask some of these questions and of course give honest answers.
Where did I first notice fleas or the flea bites on my body?
The legs and lower arms are common places especially where the skin is delicate with a good vascular supply close to the surface. The neck is also a common spot to get bitten. Clothing is a great insulator and also provides fleas with a level of concealment.
Where was I when I noticed the fleas?
What had you been doing that day? Had you had any visitors or had anyone else in that location? Had you been into a property or area where animals were or had been present? Had you been into a squat or old property where an animal had been kept up to eighteen months before? You should also ask questions like "has my neighbours cat entered my car whilst windows were open or the roof was down!
What time of day was it when I noticed the fleas?
Was the weather hot or cold - was it day or night. Like all insects, fleas like warmth and if you are the warmest thing in a cool room then your heat signature alone will get them interested. If the room is warm or an area is exposed to sunlight through glass, then it speeds up the development time it takes for flea larvae to reach maturity or developing adults in pupae to mature.
Do you have any pets that have not received flea treatments?
Cats and dogs are often the source of fleas - however you also find that rabbits and other animals that frequent your garden will also leave these little critters for you to pick up. It is not uncommon for fleas to be present in one corner of the garden where badgers, hedgehogs or foxes are regularly seen at night or perhaps in the case of foxes, during the day.
Sadly it is often children who get bitten first as their skin is delicate and untainted with strong perfumes or aftershaves.
Pets that come into your homes and offices are also commonly responsible for infestations, and if you have a cat flap installed without a magnetic or infrared lock on it then it is very common for non resident cats to come into the property and knap on the sofas etc.
Fleas are normally present two to three weeks after initial infestation or quicker where large numbers of adults were present on the contaminating host. The only good news is that those fleas you eventually see are unable to breed without a blood meal from the respective biological host. This means that if a cat flea bites you it cannot breed, but can of course survive.