Fleas are common among our furry friends, especially those animals who play outside. Periodically checking your furry friends for fleas is important for good health.
Mary Pecarski, Manager of RVT programs in the Shelter Health and Wellness Department of the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society has a few tips to share with you to help identify when your furry friend may have fleas:
Step 1: Comb your furry friend’s hair
- For the time that fleas spend on your pet, they are often found along the lower back and near the base of the tail, so comb the hair back towards the head to better see the skin.
- Although you may not see fleas, look for “flea dirt” or spots of dried blood that looks like black pepper. If you notice black peppery spots in the fur, it could be an indication there are fleas.
Step 2: Wipe with a moist towel
- Take a moist tissue or paper towel and wipe the area. If a rusty or brownish-red colour comes off, this is more likely from specks of dried blood, indicating that your furry friend has fleas.
If you think you may have identified fleas, or if you can’t identify fleas but have concerns they may be present, contact your veterinarian for guidance about effective flea control strategies!
Your veterinarian will be able to give you tips on prevention, treatment, and how to clean your house after one of your companion animals bring fleas inside, but here are a few tips to get you started!
- If fleas are identified, consult with your veterinarian first before trying any products. Your veterinarian can help you develop a good treatment and preventive program.
- Thouroughly clean all areas your furry friend frequents, such as bedding, furniture, carpeted areas, and where the baseboards and carpet meet. Make sure to dispose of your vacuum bag or dust chamber in the garbage outside.
- Put all bedding through the wash and dry thoroughly. Make sure to wash your own clothes, too.
- When searching for a pesticide to kill of fleas, look for a product that tackles the entire lifecycle of a flea, including eggs, larvae and adults. . Some products will just kill adult fleas on contact, but they won’t eliminate the larva stage of the flea, or the eggs. Consult your veterinarian to ensure the product is safe to use around your pets and family members .
- If the flea situation is so bad you can see fleas jumping on your companion animal and your carpet, you may need to get a professional exterminator. Again, always consult your veterinarian to ensure the safety of any products.
For more information on fleas, ticks, and your furry friend, visit our blog.