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A Flea Haven on Your Dog?

 

We have got flea markets but they are not actually places where you can buy fleas but rather places where you may obtain purchases at very reasonable prices. Flea havens, however, would refer specifically to places where fleas of all types gather and meet to their hearts' content. And least we forget - the fleas referred here are literally fleas - insects, mites and what have you, and their main purpose is to live off the animal. Fleas (of any type) make life miserable. These insidious little parasites pass other parasites to your pet. Their bites and debris cause skin disorders and allergic reactions resulting in itchy skin with a perpetually scratching dog. Anemia can occur if fleas are present in great numbers.

 

Realizing the potential dangers fleas impose, how do we get about eliminating them? First of all identify the location of the enemy. The belly area is a good place to look for fleas since the coat is usually not as heavy there. Fleas are tiny, dark-brown or reddish, and they move fast! They feed on blood but do not swell up as ticks do. The white specks detected on your pet's coat are their eggs and they will mature just as readily in your carpet as in your garden. Having located the fleas, the next most sensible step is to eliminate the pests.

 

The best way is to bathe your pet in a flea shampoo. Bathing not only kill the fleas but also wash off irritating debris - something a spray or powder cannot do. Depending on the severity of the flea, problem, baths should be given often - once a week if necessary. Residual flea killers should follow the flea bath to prevent new fleas from dropping in for lunch. The least expensive is of course the flea collar - effective from 1 to 4 months but losing their potency faster in our hot and humid weather. A flea and tick dip may be applied to the coat after shampooing. It can last effectively for about 2 weeks but again will lose its potency if your pet gets wet.

 

Flea powder or spray is also useful if your pet cannot tolerate a collar. However, weekly or bi-weekly applications are needed along with a good brushing to get rid of any flea dirt. On the other hand, common sense will tell you that it won't do you much good to rid your pet of fleas if he only picks them up again a month later.

 

The most likely places where fleas, mites and ticks live in the house would be the carpets and all the little nooks and crevices. Have these places well vaccumed. The pet's bedding must also be cleaned regularly with flea powder. The garden is also another place where these pests enjoy lying around while waiting for their next target. It is therefore a good idea to spray your garden regularly with a good flea killer such as malathion. Get the commercial flea exterminator to do the task if it is beyond your handling. Always remember that fleas and their related cousins are crafty and tough, and they multiply so fast that if your weapons aren't close at hand, they will take advantage, take over your pets, your house and yard, You aren't exactly their first choice for a meal, but in the absense of something better, they may pick on you too!