8 frightening flea facts you need to know!
Fleas are every pet parent's nightmare and they are a problem almost everywhere!
The more you understand about fleas, the easier it is to prevent them and get in front of an infestation.
Save yourself time, money and the headache of dealing with these little suckers and delve into these eight frightening facts.
It's estimated that a huge 95% of flea eggs, larvae and pupae live in the environment, not on your pet!
Yep, you read that right! Even homes without pets aren’t safe from infestations!
Flea eggs can survive dormant for long periods of time, sometimes even up to 18 months!
If you have a cat or dog, they can pick up fleas from other pets or places and bring them right into your home.
Although it’s less common, so can we! Fleas are able to hitch a ride using humans by clinging onto our clothes and shoes, skin and even hair!
There are several sure signs that your house is infested by these bloodsuckers including:
- Flea bites - not only on your pets but also on you! Flea bites can feel like a small sting and the bitten spots may turn into a red bruise on your skin. The bitten area will be really itchy and irritating and most commonly, you will find flea bites around your ankles. This is because fleas usually hide in your carpet and your feet and ankles are the first parts of your body that the fleas can reach to suck blood from.
- You can see them - If you’ve spotted the jumpers every now and then, then you guessed it, you have a flea problem!
- Black or white flecks - If you see suspicious looking white, brown or black flecks on your pet’s body or bedding, this could be another clear sign of a flea infestation. The white ones are flea eggs, whereas the darker ones are known as flea dirt.
Fleas prefer shady places, which are humid and dusty so keeping your home clean and sanitised is key to preventing an infestation.
Vacuum floors, carpets, rugs and upholstered furniture regularly and steam clean, if possible, to get rid of adult fleas, eggs and larvae.
A heavy flea infestation can lead to anaemia in younger cats or dogs or older pets with weakened immune systems.
This is known as flea anaemia!
It’s considered by many vets to be a common cause of death in puppies and kittens that spend a lot of time outdoors.
Senior cats and dogs that go outdoors or those with a debilitating illness are also more likely to suffer.
This is because their immune system function is not as efficient as it once was and they’re not as strong to withstand severe blood loss.
If you suspect your pet has anaemia, look out for the signs:
- Poor exercise tolerance
- Dark stools
- Dark blood in faeces or vomit
- Pale gums
- Skin bruising
If left untreated this can result in hospitalisation of your pet for treatment and even be deadly!
Flea allergy dermatitis can result even from 1 single flea on a dog or cat.
Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) is a severe allergic reaction that occurs after a flea bite.
There doesn’t need to be a large infestation for this to happen.
This can result in incredible itchy skin for your pet, irritation and can even cause painful skin wounds.
If untreated, FAD can lead to infection, which can take weeks to clear up with medication. In severe cases hospitalisation may be required in your vets for intense treatment.
Not only is this expensive, but intense itching can be super frustrating for your pet which impacts their wellbeing.
Thankfully, in the long term, once the condition is under control, treatment is likely to be relatively reasonable.
In some cases, the only cost is regular flea treatment, which we would recommend. Make savings with our affordable subscriptions and get vet approved products delivered directly to your door, right on time!
Fleas can jump up to 20cm - 100 x their size!
Fleas are incredible jumpers! With their powerful back legs they can leap up to 20cm high and 30cm horizontally!
That's about 100 times their own height and length!
Our animal-loving peers over at OneKindPlanet have estimated that if fleas were human-sized, then they would be able to jump over the Eiffel Tower with an acceleration force of 140G!
That’s an acceleration rate 50 times greater than a rocket taking off into space!
Thank dog they can’t fly!
Fleas are able to lay up to 50 eggs per day!
These can hatch into larvae in 1-14 days and then mature into fleas in a further 4-18 days.
Imagine how many fleas you can have in 1-2 weeks in your house in warmer weather!?
Five fleas on an untreated pet can lead to one million eggs infesting your home in four weeks.
And if the jumpers have invaded your home, the eggs will make up half the entire flea population!
Movement and vibrations in the house also assist with eggs hatching so there’s really no escaping these little suckers!
Fleas are a main host for tapeworm in dogs and cats.
If your dog or cat has had fleas, we recommend treating them for tapeworm.
There are all different types of tapeworms, but the most common one is caused by swallowing a tiny infected flea.
This usually happens when your pet is self-grooming.
Once the flea is digested by the dog or cat, the larval tapeworm is able to develop into an adult tapeworm.
Worm infestations that are left untreated can be dangerous or even fatal and there's also a chance that you will become infected, too!
Like with anything, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Fleas like to hang out in low hair areas such as the groin and abdomen, armpits and heads.
The armpits and groin are warm and protected, making them desirable for large flea populations.
Under chins is a favourite in cats! If you see black sand/specks under your felines chin, this could be flea faeces.
Be sure to check the ears carefully for signs of scratching, redness, blood, or dirt. These can all be signs of fleas!
The neck, shoulder blades, base of the tail and along the back of the legs is another favourite flea hangout!
Check the belly, groin, or base of the tail for red and bumpy skin, especially if your pet is scratching a lot.
Fleas can drink 15 x their weight in blood.
For smaller pets, this can be fatal if there is a large infestation.
Imagine being bitten by mosquitos daily, having a rash and itch that just won’t go away?
Along with sore areas of skin that are bleeding whilst you are just dying to soothe that itch?
This is what it is like for your pet to have fleas!
This can be seriously uncomfortable, painful and stressful for your pet.
As well as impacting their overall health, this will have a negative impact on their wellbeing and quality of life.
We can’t say this enough - Prevention is definitely better than cure!
And there you have it! Our pick of some of the most shocking and scary facts about fleas.
If you made it all the way to the end of this blog, then you’re doing amazing sweetie!
We know it’s enough to make you itch and reading flea facts is nobody’s idea of a good time.
But now you have all the knowledge you need to stay one step ahead of the suckers, and defeat them if it ever comes to it!
Keep your pet protected and check out some of our other blogs below. You can also share this on socials to help other pawrents parent like a pro! Go on, share the love! You know you want to!