The flea poses a significant risk to your dog
As we head into the Summer Flea starts to pose a significant risk to dogs and their humans.
These tiny external parasites live on the blood of mammals, and their bites can lead to serious health issues. Nobody wants to find fleas on their dogs but it is just one of those unavoidable issues. Here is my guide to some basics you should know about the risks and the prevention of fleas.
Fleas are tiny wingless insect with a hard flat body which is designed to easily navigate through pet hair. The Fleas legs are designed for jumping massive distances and their mouth is designed to suck blood from your pet. This is an external parasite and will feed from the blood of its host, usually a mammal. With there being several species of fleas, the most commonly one that affects dogs and cats is known as Ctenocephalides felis. This type of flea will bite humans but we are not an ideal host. This flea prefers cats, dogs, rabbits and similar small mammals.
Life Cycle of Fleas:
There are four stages to the life of a Flea:
The egg adult female fleas can lay up to 40 eggs a day. The eggs are laid on the host and will then dry and fall off the host into the environment. Eggs will typically hatch within about two days.
When the eggs hatch the larvae emerge. The tiny worm-like creatures feed upon flea faeces which are basically dried animal blood. The larva goes through three moults before it enters the pupa stage. The larval stage typically lasts from 5 to 15 days.
Cocooned the larva begins its transformation into the adult flea. The cocoon is nearly indestructible and attracts dirt and debris that help camouflage them. The Pupa can remain dormant in the environment for many months. Fleas in the pupa stage will not emerge until they sense a host.
Fully developed fleas only emerge from the cocoon when a host is available. Newly emerged fleas jump on the host immediately and begin to feed. The female flea will begin to lay eggs within 24-48 hours of her first meal. She will defecate blood from her host that will fall off the host along with the eggs and the whole life cycle begins again. Adult fleas can live for about 4-6 weeks depending on the environment.
The flea is a parasite and although serves a purpose its feeding habits and life cycle can serious damage yours and your pets health so if you suspect you have a flea problem then you probably do. For every one flea you see there are almost 50 you don’t see. As soon as you see them you need to contact your Vet for advice on Flea treatment for your pets and for you home.