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Facts About Fleas


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Trim Time stocks a full line of flea products. We have found that the  

flea oil products applied to the neck and tail of the dogs and cats are the best. We have

tested them on our own pets. Many of our customers are using these products with great

success over the past several years.


What Are Fleas?   flea2.gif (1255 bytes)

    Fleas are brown, small., wingless insects, about 1/8 of an inch long.  Their bodies are flattened from side to side, allowing for quick movement through hair.  Flea legs are made for leaping.  A flea can jump up to 36 inches.   This is equal to a human jumping over the Washington Monument.
    Adult Fleas feed on blood from may species of animals.  Fleas have been known to bite humans, but seem to prefer other animals.
    To properly control fleas, the life cycle of the flea must be understood.
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    The flea spends most of its adult life on you pet.  The immature stages live in the environment, your yard or house.  The adult female feeds and then lays eggs on the animal.  These eggs shortly fall off as the pet moves about.  In 2 to 14 days, the eggs hatch into small worm-like larvae.  These larvae feed on debris in carpeting, furniture, or cracks and crevices in the house or yard.  After 9 to 15 days, the larvae molts into a cocoon-like pupa.  Then 5 days to 5 weeks later a hungry adult flea emerges.  The adult flea can live up to 9 months.  In times of cold or dry conditions, the cycle will temporarily stop at either the egg or cocoon stages.  The entire cycle can produce a new generation of adult fleas in as little as 16 days.

What Problems Can Fleas Cause?

    Fleas can irritate your pet by constantly moving around and biting him or her.  This may induce severe scratching.  Some animals develop allergies to flea bites, which make the itching even worse.  The constant irritation to the skin often leads to skin infections.  Fleas can also carry tapeworm cysts.

How Do I Know If My Pet Has Fleas?

    Adult fleas can be seen with the naked eye crawling quickly along your pet's skin.  More commonly, the diagnosis is made by finding flea dirt on your animal or its environment (bedding, etc.).  Flea dirt is really the adult's excrement.  It look like ground pepper and will turn red when dropped on a wet, white piece of paper.
    Flea infestation is a major consideration when your pet is scratching.  Other causes of itchiness that must be ruled out include allergies, skin infections, or other parasites.

How Can I Control Fleas?

    To completely eliminate fleas, both the animal and the environment must be treated at the same time.  Always be sure to follow label instructions.   Specific problems with flea control should be discussed with your veterinarian.   The following is a brief outline of our recommendations.   Be sure to read and follow label directions on any products carefully!

Flea Control in the House:

  1. VACUUM the entire house and any furniture where your pets sleep or rest prior to treating the house.  Vacuum your pet's high traffic areas every 2 to 4 days after treating the house.  change the vacuum bag after each use.  Fleas can mature in the bag and potentially escape, re-infesting your home.
  2. WASH any washable pet bedding with soap and hot water.
  3. Mop all washable pet bedding with soap and hot water.
  4. HOUSE TREATMENT - Siphotrol Plus is similar to the products used by some exterminators.   It is safe when applied as directed.  Read the directions carefully.   After spraying, people and pets must leave the house for three hours to allow for complete drying.  Do not over spray.  Each can treats 2000 square feet.   One treatment can provide continuous activity for 6 months.  However with severe infestations, re-treatment may be needed.  DO NOT USE THIS PRODUCT ON YOUR PET!
  5. PROFESSIONAL EXTERMINATOR - Several good exterminators are listed in the yellow pages.   Be sure the one you hire offers a guarantee.  Concurrent treatment of animals in the home is required.

Flea Control on the Pet:
There are many different products available.  The following can be safely used individually, but consult with your veterinarian before using a combination of products.   Inappropriate combinations can cause toxicity.

  1. SHAMPOOS - We carry several brands of flea shampoo that are fine for general cleaning and quick kill of fleas that are on your pet at the moment.  Unfortunately no flea shampoo offers any protection after rinsing.  For full effect, allow the lather to stand on your pet for 10 minutes prior to a very thorough rinse.
  2. FLEA COLLARS - Duocide Flea Collar -  By themselves, flea collars are ineffective in curing an existing flea infestation.  These are best used as a first line of defense when fleas are not yet present.  Their value is in attempting to kill a stray flea before it has time to start a family that can grow rapidly.  Pyrethrin based sprays and powders are the only additional flea control products to be used safely with this collar.  Other treatments may lead to insecticide overdose.
  3. SPRAYS - These were designed for ease of application.  After misting all over your pet, rub the coat to work it down to the skin, where the fleas live.  Be careful around the face and eyes.  Wash your hands after using any flea spray.
    Duocide, an extended duration synthetic pyrethrin spray, can safely be used on cats and dogs older than 12 weeks of age.  It should be re-applied once a week for 6 weeks.
    Ovitrol is a natural, shorter-acting pyrethrin spray combined with a very long duration flea growth inhibitor.  It can be used on cats and dogs as well as all kittens and puppies, except newborns (less than 1 week of age).  Ovitrol should be reapplied twice a week for 6 weeks.  It comes with a "no hiss" applicator for those pets scared by the sound of a sprayer.
    Multistage and Basus are long acting synthetic pyrethrin sprays used for DOGS ONLY.   It also contains a flea growth inhibitor that will kill flea eggs laid on the pet.   It should be reapplied every 14 days for 6 weeks.  They both are effective in repelling ticks, including the Deer Tick that carries Lyme Disease.
  4. POWDERS - Vet Kem Powder can be used once a week on cats and gods.  After dusting your entire pet, rub the coat to work it down to your pet's skin, where the fleas live.  Be careful around the face and eyes.  Wash your hands after applying.
  5. DIPS - Adams 14 Day Flea Dip is effective on both dogs and cats.  It should be repeated every 14 days for 6 weeks.  For added effect, Ovitrol can be applied once or twice between dips.  IT IS IMPORTANT TO FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY WHEN APPLYING DIPS.
  6. ORAL TABLETS - Program is once a month that puts a flea hormone in your pet's blood.  When an adult flea bites your pet, it gets a dose of the hormone.  It does not kill the flea but renders her eggs nonviable, thus breaking the flea cycle.   As such, Program tablets are a safe and convenient flea preventative.  If a flea infestation already exists, Program tablets alone will bring it under control in 60 to 90 days.  If any fleas are unacceptable to you, your pet is very uncomfortable, or your pet has a moderate to severe infestation, traditional flea control measures would be indicated along with the Program tablets.  For Program to be effective, they must be given:  1) to all cats and dogs in the family (indoor and outdoor),  2) exactly once a month during flea season (June 1 to November 1), and  3) with a full meal.
  7. MONTHLY SKIN APPLICATION - Advantage is a new product for dogs and cats.  A prepared amount is applied to the skin, after parting the hair, near the shoulders (and an additional application on the back near the tail for larger dogs) once monthly.  This medication inhibits essential nerve function in fleas.  It works very quickly, killing 99% of fleas within 24 hours, before they have time to lay eggs.  This product is indicated for animals with allergies to fleas.  It is safe to use with any other flea product.  However, if the animal becomes wet, the product must be reapplied (at a maximum of once weekly).

Flea Control in the Yard or Kennel:
    Outdoor treatment should be considered if your pet spends much time in a confined area (i.e. kennel).  Usually treating a yard is unnecessary.   Consult an exterminator if you wish such a treatment.

How Can I Prevent My Pet From Getting Fleas?

    Whenever a pet is out-of-doors or exposed to other animals there is a potential for developing a flea infestation.  Close attention to your pet's hair coat (looking for fleas or flea dirt) and/or any signs of scratching can alert you to early flea infestation.  As with most health problems, early identification and treatment leads to the fastest cure.
    Program pills are the best way to prevent an infestation by blocking flea reproduction.  Sprays, powders, and dips can also be used as a preventative, because fleas which get on your pet would be killed or repelled by the insecticide before the lea is brought into your house.  All these products would be used in the same manner as described for treatment:



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Last modified: February 19, 2014