Understanding Dog Fleas How Fleas Breed Affect Your Dogs Health

Fleas belong to​ the​ insect order Siphonaptera. They are common pests and may attack many mammals,​ including man. They can be a​ year round problem because they infest not only pets but also the​ home of​ the​ owner. Because of​ this,​ treatment of​ the​ pet alone may only temporarily solve a​ flea infestation.

Although many species of​ fleas feed primarily on​ one type of​ animal,​ the​ common cat and dog flea will readily take blood from a​ variety of​ animals,​ including man. Flea infestations of​ pets and their homes will most likely involve the​ cat flea,​ Ctenocephalides felis and occasionally the​ dog flea,​ C. canis.

Fleas are small (2 to​ 4 mm in​ length),​ brownish to​ black insects which are characteristically flattened from side to​ side. Adults are wingless and capable of​ jumping relatively long distances. Adults feed exclusively on​ blood with their piercing-sucking mouthparts. When not actively feeding,​ adult fleas often hide in​ locations frequented by the​ host animal such as​ your dog bedding,​ sofas,​ or​ carpeted areas.

The common cat and dog fleas breed throughout the​ year. After feeding and mating,​ the​ female deposits her eggs,​ usually on​ the​ host. Several eggs are laid daily and up to​ several hundred over a​ lifetime. Eggs normally fall off the​ host into bedding material or​ similar areas and hatch within two weeks.

Flea eggs accumulate in​ areas where the​ host spends most of​ its time. in​ addition,​ adult fleas defecate small pellets of​ digested blood which also drop off into the​ environment. a​ flea comb will often gather this fecal matter at​ the​ base of​ the​ tines providing a​ good sign of​ flea infestation. the​ combination of​ white flea eggs and black dried blood specks may appear as​ a​ sprinkling of​ salt and pepper where an​ infested animal has slept.

Fleas undergo complete metamorphosis,​ that is,​ they pass through four developmental stages: egg,​ larva,​ pupa,​ and adult. Immature fleas do not resemble adults at​ all.

Flea larvae are tiny,​ light colored,​ and,​ worm-like,​ without legs. They feed primarily on​ various debris and organic material including the​ droppings of​ the​ adults which contains digested blood. Flea larvae occur indoors and outdoors,​ wherever the​ eggs have fallen off the​ host. in​ houses,​ flea larvae live in​ carpeting,​ furniture,​ animal bedding and other protected areas with high humidity. Flea larvae also live outdoors in​ areas where animals spend time such as​ under porches in​ and around dog houses,​ etc.

Because flea larvae depend on​ the​ adult’s fecal pellets of​ dried blood as​ a​ food source,​ they cannot live in​ lawns or​ other outdoor areas unless the​ pet visits those areas enough to​ provide this food.

Depending on​ the​ species of​ flea and environmental conditions the​ larvae will pupate in​ one week to​ several months. the​ pupa is​ contained within a​ loose silken cocoon which is​ often covered by bits of​ debris. Under average conditions,​ the​ life cycle of​ the​ flea normally requires between 30 and 75 days but may take much longer. Adult fleas inside the​ cocoon,​ called pre-emerged fleas,​ will stay in​ that condition for weeks to​ months if​ no external cues from a​ host is​ available.

However,​ when disturbed by the​ presence of​ a​ host such as​ vibrations or​ carbon dioxide from exhaled breath,​ the​ fleas emerge simultaneously and attack the​ host. This is​ why it​ is​ possible to​ return to​ a​ house or​ apartment that has been empty for months and find it​ full of​ fleas.

When the​ normal host is​ available,​ fleas may feed several times a​ day but they are capable of​ surviving extended periods of​ starvation. in​ household situations,​ the​ normal host is​ a​ cat or​ dog. However,​ if​ the​ normal host is​ removed,​ starved fleas will readily seek other sources of​ blood and more often than not,​ man is​ the​ alternate host. in​ severe infestations,​ fleas will attack humans even though the​ normal host is​ present.

Certain species of​ fleas have been known to​ transmit such diseases as​ bubonic plague and murine typhus. These have never been a​ major problem. the​ major problems with fleas is​ as​ a​ nuisance pest of​ pets. the​ irritation and itching from flea bites results in​ scratching and potential secondary infection. Fleas may also transmit the​ double-pored dog tapeworm to​ dogs and cats.

Finally,​ persistent attacks from fleas can cause severe allergic responses in​ some people and pets. Once sensitized,​ a​ single flea bite may produce symptoms including hair loss,​ usually around the​ base of​ the​ tail,​ dermatitis,​ and intense itching. in​ worse cases,​ puppies and young kittens can also died from serious fleas infestations.

With proper flea management knowledge,​ flea problems will not be a​ big issue and can be battle and win over easily.

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