Flea Facts - July 2017

By Julie Massoni

An adult flea is capable of consuming 15 times it’s bodyweight in blood per day and can lay up to 50 eggs daily. The eggs fall into the animal’s environment and after 2-12 days hatch into larvae. For the next 8-21 days the larvae feeds on flea feces and go through 3 more stages of development, ending with the pupa stage.
The pupa can lay dormant for 200 days where the eggs first dropped, ie; carpet, car, backyard and hatch into young fleas in response to vibration caused by the movement of an animal or person.
Adult fleas can live for 2 months with no food or up to 8 months with food.
So as you can see, these pesky little critters are sure cut out for survival, so remember to also treat your dog’s environment to keep flea numbers under control.
All stages of flea life can be killed by heat, so for bedding, rugs, carpets, etc. Use hot soapy water, high settings on clothes dryers or steam cleaning.
Natural treatments
can work equally effectively as the chemical products but will require more frequent use than the artificial treatments. It always concerns me with anything topical that warns you to avoid contact with the skin, yet it is poured onto the animals skin (why is this supposedly okay, I wonder?) Personally, I do not like to use anything that is not safe for human skin contact also.
Natural shampoos
will kill fleas and are best left on for a few minutes before rinsing for best results. Wash your dog every few weeks in summer or every few months in winter. Inside dogs may need more frequent bathing, so be sure to use a very gentle shampoo when bathing weekly. Herbal pet shampoo is gentle enough for regular use.
Natural Sprays
can be used between washing to keep fleas and other insects and parasites away from your animal friend. These may be used once or twice daily during bad flea infestations or weekly depending on your needs.
Herbal powders
may be preferred for some cats and dogs who dislike being sprayed. These can be dusted through the coat on a regular basis to help prevent fleas.
Fleas hate lemons
and a natural Lemon Dog rinse may be made up using lemon or grapefruit peels soaked in water or use Lemon dog rinse which is suitable for dogs only. This is a concentrated blend and a 200ml bottle will make up to 13 litres of rinse. It is totally non-toxic and effective for up to 48 hours.
Herbal Pet collars
are also an idea for use on all animals to help keep fleas, flies and other annoying insects away from your animals. These come in sizes ranging from xsmall for guinea pigs, ferrets and kittens up to xlarge for really big dogs and even horse neck collars.
Regular grooming
and running through the coat with a flea comb is a cheap and easy way to catch fleas.
Natural diet
is also preferred, so ensure your dog and cat is fed only natural food and supplement with garlic and Vitamin B complex.

Julie's Bio: Animal Naturopath - Julie Massoni Website

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