Why is it important to get rid of fleas on my dog?

April 13, 2012

Fleas are parasites that can make the life of your pet extremely uncomfortable. These tiny creatures that are only about 1/8 of an inch are wingless but very good jumpers. Once a flea has sensed the warmth of your dog’s body it can jump as high as four feet, land on your dog’s fur, have a blood meal and in two days would lay thousands of eggs and start to make your pet’s life miserable. Flea bites would be very itchy. Dogs infested with fleas would scratch excessively. Some individuals that are hypersensitive to flea saliva would have red bumps on the skin. The dog’s excessive scratching will result to hair loss and sores that can get infected.

Flea infestation that results to bald patches and skin infections would mar the appearance of the pet. The dog’s less than pleasing appearance will naturally have a negative impression on the pet owner. People’s idea that the dog is owned by an irresponsible person would be the least of the worries of the dog owner. Flea infestation has to be eradicated as it will affect the quality of life of the pet. Fleas feed on the dog’s blood. A few fleas may not affect the dog. Dogs after all are hardy animals. However, fleas multiply at a very fast rate. Heavy infestation means thousands of these parasites sucking the blood of the dog. Heavy infestation can make the dog lethargic and anemic. The heavy infestation can even kill a small puppy. Dogs are happy eaters but severe itching can make the dog turn away from food. Dogs that accidentally ingest fleas while grooming can be infested with tapeworms as fleas are carriers of these intestinal freeloaders. The fleas on the dog can jump to other pets in the house and even to the human family. From the fur of the dog, the fleas can jump to the carpet, hide in furniture and floor crevices and feed on human blood. Similar to the dog, humans can suffer from the itch resulting from flea bites too.

The most important reason why the fleas on the dog must be eradicated is because these tiny parasites can transmit deadly diseases to humans. As fleas serve as intermediate hosts of tapeworms, humans can be infested by this intestinal parasite if fleas are accidentally ingested. Fleas are vectors of various bacterial and viral diseases. Fleas can transmit Plague, Murine Typhus and cause Tungiasis in humans. Bubonic plague is otherwise known as Black Death because this most deadly disease can occur in epidemics that have high mortality rates. This disease is caused by the pasteurella pestis bacterium. The bacterium is transmitted to humans when humans accidentally ingest fleas or when the feces of infected fleas get into open skin. Rat fleas are carriers of the Rickettsia bacteria that cause Murine Typhus. Tungiasis is a severely painful and itchy skin inflammation caused by the Chigger flea. The females of this flea specie would burrow into the skin to breed causing severe infection. Fleas can only be removed through surgery.

Fleas indeed are very dangerous pests. Dog owners though can easily get rid of the infestation. Flea baths and dips would provide the pet with temporary relief. Flea collars and medications can be used as well. The dog owner though has to make sure that the chemicals would effectively eradicate the infestation without causing dangers to the pet. Remember, to be able to get rid of the fleas, the life cycle of the pest must be interrupted. This means that the fleas must be removed not only from the dog but from the dog’s environment as well. This would mean disinfecting the dog’s bedding and toys. Using the vacuum cleaner more often will help in getting rid of these pesky pests of your pets.

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