Fleas are endemic to most of the places throughout the world, including here in Ontario. While thankfully fleas are not active in the outdoor environment during the winter months, your pet can easily become infested with fleas if they frequent the outdoors in spring, summer, and fall without and preventative medication protecting them.
If you suspect your pet has fleas, please feel free to give out clinic a call and book an appointment with us so our experienced veterinarians may effectively treat your pet and household environment.
Does Natural Flea Prevention/Treatment Work?
Unfortunately, there is no highly effective natural flea prevention product currently on the market.
For natural flea sprays to be effective, they need to be constantly applied, rendering them fairly useless. Methods like frequent monthly bathing can be somewhat effective in preventing flea infestations.
Something to always keep in mind is that “natural” does not necessarily mean “safe” and Non-toxic”. Many essential oils can be toxic to your pet, some create skin eruptions, dermatitis, or they can be toxic upon ingestion during grooming. Additionally, the strong odour of these products can irritate your pet’s sensitive respiratory system, all of this in addition to their poor efficacy.
Does Garlic Prevent Fleas?
This old wives tale has done more harm than good to many pets. Plants like onions, leeks, garlic, shallots, scallions, chives, all are part of the Alliaceae family and are actually toxic to cats and dogs. In addition to being toxic, garlic does not protect your pet from or kill fleas.
Flea Life Cycle
Fleas are notoriously difficult to get rid of, below are some facts which prove just how difficult a flea infestation can be to manage.
- Fleas are very hardy and can survive a trip through the washing machine
- Once adult fleas finish feeding on your pet, they hop off into your home (which is why its important to treat the environment as well as the pet!)
- Only 5% of the flea population is adult fleas, the remaining 95% are eggs, larvae and pupae
- The transformation from egg to adult can take just 12–22 days
- A single adult flea can lay 50 eggs a day (2,000 in her lifetime)
The Best Way to Combat Fleas
The best way to avoid dealing with a flea infestation is to prevent it from ever happening in the first place! During the warm weather months here in Ontario (from March until November) it is advised that you have your pets on monthly flea and tick preventatives in order to prevent a flea infestation from occurring.
At McQueen Animal Hospital, we offer many veterinary grade preventative products in oral and topical forms which you can give to your pet in order to protect them from getting fleas (and many other internal and external parasites too).
Myths About Fleas
- If only one pet has fleas in the house, or only one pet goes outside, you only need to treat and use preventatives on that pet
- This is FALSE! If you have a dog that goes outside and have cats inside, it’s a good idea to have ALL pets on flea preventative medication
- “I’ve never had a flea problem before, so I shouldn’t worry about fleas”
- Fleas are present in most places in our world, and they are almost always present in the outside environment, all it takes is one of these fleas jumping on your pet and you could be dealing with an infestation
The best way to treat fleas is to treat every pet in the house and the household environment.
How to Find Fleas
- Get a flea comb; you can purchase a flea comb at your local pet store and brush through your pet’s coat looking for fleas or flea dirt
- Look for Flea Dirt; flea dirt is basically flea feces, it appears as black flecks, but once you place it on a damp paper towel it bleeds a red-orange colour (digested blood)
How to Treat Fleas
Do not waste your money on false, ineffective products. First consult with a veterinarian and purchase products accordingly.
- Use an effective product which has studies to backup its effectiveness and is “licensed” to kill fleas
- Understand hot to correctly apply or administer the product, this includes dosage intervals and routes of administration
- Apply to ALL pets in the home
- Treat the environment, at McQueen Animal Hospital we offer Siphotrol Premise Spray which is an environmental spray which kills fleas
Your pet needs protection from fleas and other internal and external parasites, and only you can provide them with that protection. Prevention is always the best medicine and ensures that your pet never deals with the discomfort of flea allergy dermatitis. Stay vigilant of your pet during flea season, and always consult your veterinarian if you suspect your pet has flea allergies or you would like to purchase some preventative medication.
McQueen Animal Hospital is proud to provide you with finest quality services in animal care in the Brampton region; we are located at 8975 McLaughlin Road, L6Y 0Z6 and are happy to answer any of your questions via phone at 905-455-7387.
Author: Jessica Wilkans, RVT at McQueen Animal Hospital