Category Archives: flea allergy dermatitis

Debunking Seven Myths About the Mighty Flea

By Julia Williams

Fleas. The very word can strike fear into your heart. Anyone who’s ever waged war on these nasty blood-sucking pests knows how difficult and time consuming it can be to keep their pet and their home flea free. Fighting fleas is hard work, but it’s an important part of responsible pet ownership. The first weapon in the battle against this menace is knowledge. Here are some common myths about fleas.

Myth #1: A few fleas are no big deal. The truth is, a few fleas can quickly turn into a full blown infestation, thanks to this pest’s incredibly fast reproduction rate – a single female flea can lay one egg every hour! Left untreated, it’s estimated that ten fleas can generate over 267,000 offspring in just one month. Moreover, for every adult flea you see on your pet, there are typically ten or more developing in your pet’s environment.

Myth #2: Fleas are just a harmless annoyance. Fleas do bother us and our pets, alright, but they can also create serious health concerns. Fleas can cause anemia in puppies and kittens, and can even kill them if they’re not treated soon enough. Some adult dogs and cats are highly sensitive to flea bites, and just a few bites can result in a skin irritation called flea-allergy dermatitis. Intense itching from fleas can cause a secondary bacterial infection, lesions and hair loss, and fleas that are swallowed by your pet can transmit tapeworms.

Myth#3: Healthy pets don’t get fleas. Although it is true that a healthy animal is a less attractive host for fleas, it’s no guarantee. Even pets that are in tip-top health can get fleas, especially if you live in a heavily infested region or a warmer climate where fleas are more prevalent. Feeding your dog or cat a high quality pet food such as CANIDAE can help to keep them in good health and make them less desirable to fleas.

Myth #4: Keeping a clean house can prevent fleas. Unfortunately, even spotlessly clean homes can have fleas. These nasty pests hitch a ride into your home by jumping on pets while they’re outdoors. Even homes without pets can have fleas, because they can be brought in on your clothes and shoes, and once inside they start reproducing faster than rabbits. Fleas, eggs and the developing larva can hide in carpeting, furniture, in cracks of hardwood floors and baseboards. Thoroughly cleaning your home, your pet’s bedding and places where your pet spends time does help in the fight against fleas, but this alone is not enough to prevent them or eradicate them completely.

Myth #5: Treating the pet alone will suffice. In reality, if you don’t treat your home and yard too, you’re just wasting your time and money. Immature fleas (eggs, larva and pupae) develop off of your pet, so fully solving a flea problem requires a three-prong approach, i.e., treating your pet, your home and your yard at the same time. And if you have more than one pet, you must treat them all, even if you don’t see any fleas on them and/or they’re not scratching.

Myth #6: There’s no need to worry about fleas in winter. Fleas are more problematic in the warm summer months, but they can live quite happily (and continue to reproduce) in your home all year long. Effective flea control is an ongoing, year-round process, but diligently fighting these pests in winter can give you an advantage that will help you win the battle. Read this article for more about flea control in wintertime.

Myth #7: Natural flea control is not effective. This myth is partially true in that some natural flea products and methods don’t work as easily and/or efficiently as their chemical counterparts. However, a diligent pet owner who chooses to go the natural route to fight fleas can succeed. It’s up to each of us, as responsible pet owners, to research all flea control methods and products to discover which ones are right for our animal companions.

Fighting fleas can seem like an impossible battle, and we may be tempted at times to throw up our hands and surrender to this almighty enemy. But the decision to bring pets into our lives brings with it a commitment to take good care of them. Fleas are tenacious pests to be sure, but in the end they’re no match for those who are dedicated to responsible pet ownership.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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How to Help Pets with Flea Allergy Dermatitis

By Linda Cole

Responsible pet owners know how important it is to make sure their pets are treated for fleas. Unfortunately, some pets have an allergic reaction to a flea’s bite even with flea medication on them. Some reactions can be quite severe. I have a dog that has an allergic reaction to flea bites. Left untreated, a pet will whine and chew their skin raw, which isn’t good for them and can drive you and your pet crazy. My dog has flea allergy dermatitis, also called flea bite allergy.

The first and most important step in helping a pet who has an allergic reaction to fleas is to make sure they are treated with a quality flea control medication monthly. Start treatment at least one month before flea season starts and continue it until at least one month after flea season is over. Talk with your vet to determine which flea treatment would be best for your pet.

Fleas don’t actually live on our pets. Most of their life is spent lounging somewhere in the home. Some people assume that if they don’t see fleas on their pet, they don’t have a flea problem, but that’s simply not true. If you don’t find fleas on your pet at the time you inspect them, it doesn’t mean your pet or home is flea free. If it’s flea season and you have pets, a community of fleas could be hanging out in your home and yard, and using your pet as their own personal diner.

To help a pet who has flea allergy dermatitis, it’s important to treat the pet and the home at the same time and try to eliminate the little pests completely. The best way to control fleas in the home is to have a pest control service spray monthly during flea season; inside and outside. By having an effective flea control on the pet and with an aggressive attack on fleas around the home, you have a good chance of getting rid of the fleas.

Pets who suffer from flea allergy dermatitis are so sensitive that just one or two flea bites can cause them to chew on themselves constantly, and won’t stop even when their skin has become raw. You don’t have to have an infestation of fleas for your pet to be miserable. It’s not the flea bite itself that drives a dog or cat crazy, it’s the saliva of the flea that causes all the itching. Flea bite allergies are the most common type of allergy found in cats and dogs.

Signs of flea allergy dermatitis are constant scratching, chewing, licking and whining. Their skin may be red or even raw from constant scratching and chewing. You can feel bumps on their skin when you run your hand over the area they’ve been chewing on, especially along their back at the base of the tail and along the tail. You may notice an area where your pet scratched and chewed so much, they have a bare spot or thinning hair in the area. They can develop hot spots on their face or other parts of their body, and you are apt find flea debris in the area. The debris looks like little pieces of dried blood because that’s exactly what it is. Flea bite allergy can cause secondary infections if left untreated, so it’s up to us as responsible pet owners to make sure to tackle a flea problem aggressively and use all of the weapons available to us during flea season.

Keep your pet’s bedding clean. Vacuum regularly where your pet sleeps, along baseboards, and move furniture so you can vacuum under it. Remove couch and chair cushions and vacuum thoroughly underneath them. Dispose of the vacuum bag after each vacuuming and if your vacuum has no bag, dump the dirt out into a small trash bag and seal it before throwing it away. You don’t want any of your captured fleas to escape back into the home.

If your pet shows signs of having any adverse reaction to fleas even with flea medication on them, talk with your vet. They can recommend a flea control product that might work better for your pet and they can also advise you on other products you can use to help relieve their itching. You want to make sure to use flea control that kills adult fleas and has an insect growth regulator (IGR) which will kill immature fleas before they have a chance to mature into adults.

Flea allergy dermatitis can drive both you and your pet crazy. Start your fight against fleas before they have a chance to attack your pet or invade your home.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.