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Understanding Fleas


  • Understanding Fleas

The first step to preventing or getting rid of fleas is to understand these little critters.  The more you know about them, the more capable you will be to set up the proper line of defense.  You will be able to better understand the steps necessary to get rid of them if they do take over your pet and your home.

  • Fleas, Fleas, Everywhere

If you have fleas in your home, you are not alone.  Australians spend many millions of dollars every year to bring these nasty parasites under control.

Fleas have not always been considered a nuisance, though.  In fact, flea circuses have been around for at least 300 years.  This form of entertainment, which often involved attaching fleas to miniature carts and having them perform circus-like acts, was once common all over Europe and at American county fairs.  Of course, most people today do not find fleas to be quite so amusing.

  • The Amazing Power of Fleas

Fleas may be very tiny; in fact they are only 2-3 millimeters long and weigh practically nothing.  They can, however, pull up to 160,000 times their own weight, which is the equivalent of a human pulling 10 million kilograms.  Therefore, it is easy to see how they could pull those carts in the flea circus!

In addition, fleas are strong jumpers capable of jumping up to 30 cm high.  This is over 150 times their size and is the same as a human jumping 300 metres.  In order to accomplish this amazing feat, fleas must gain an acceleration of 50 times more than a space shuttle after liftoff.  Fleas also have amazing endurance and, therefore, are capable of jumping 30,000 times without ever stopping.  But, each time they jump, they reverse direction.  This is why they are generally so difficult to catch in order to kill.

  • The Life Cycle

Getting rid of and preventing fleas has a lot to do with understanding their life cycle.  For example, it is not only necessary to get rid of adult fleas in order to eradicate the nuisance.  In fact, flea eggs and larvae also must be dealt with in order to stop the cycle from completing.  This is important to keep in mind when searching for a product to kill the fleas in your home because a product that kills only adult fleas will be virtually ineffective in ridding your home of the pests. Topical treatments such as Frontline Plus for DogsFrontline Plus for Cats and Revolution do an excellent job of getting rid of fleas, regardless of their stage in the life cycle. If topical treatments aren't for your dog, try Nexgard, Bravecto or Sentinel Spectrum tasty meaty chews.  

Because it is necessary to get rid of fleas within each stage of the life cycle, it is best to wash all household bedding (and especially your pets bedding!) once per week.  This will help get rid of eggs and larvae that may be in the bedding. In addition, you should never wash your pet with harsh soaps. These soaps can remove important natural oils that actually help protect your pet.  Instead, you should bathe your pet regularly with flea shampoos such as Killyptus Flea and Tick Shampoo or Permoxin Flea and Tick Rinse. Please note both these products are hightly toxic to cats and should not be used on pets where cats share the same househould.

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