Flea Season

Important Facts about the Flea Season

Flea season is year round in much of the United States. Fleas are known to thrive in warm weather conditions and so many pet owners assume that the threat of fleas is gone with late autumn. However, given the fact that human have figured out ways to stay warm through the winter months, if fleas find a home on one of your cats or dogs, they also can stay healthy and thrive during the cold winter season.  Our climate controlled life-styles have the unfortunate downside of prolonging flea season also.

Having said this, it is true that fleas do have an actual prime time and these are the warm and wet months of spring and summer. In these terms, March through November is considered flea season. This is the time that in most of the country the weather is warm enough for the larvae to hatch and there are plenty of pets out and about to serve as blood meal for the newly hatched fleas. However, if an inattentive pet owner does not get rid of fleas then the cycle is not as dependent on the outdoor temperature as the cycle of fleas laying eggs and hatching may be happening inside a warm and cozy home.

If you want to make sure your pets are not affected by flea season, your best bet is prevention. So start the flea prevention treatments for your dogs and cats before the onset of the warm months and be aggressive and vigilant about maintaining high standards of hygiene for your pet. Keep your house and the bedding of your pet well cleaned and vacuum frequently. General cleaning is also probably the best way to spot a flea infestation early on. Experts recommend monthly topical treatments for fleas over flea collars or other over-the-counter medicines which are supposed to help with flea prevention. Given that with all these medications you are introducing chemicals to your pet and into your household, be discriminating in your choices.

Some times despite your best efforts your pet does fall prey to the flea season. Given that fleas are adept at hiding in pet hair, you best chance of detecting a flea maybe indirect signs rather than a direct spotting. The most obvious clue is if your dog starts to scratch often. While allergy, dry skin and mange bites are also likely to cause itchiness, fleas are the most obvious suspects. Experts say that a dog that bites around its rear, near the tail and around his or her thighs, is likely to be dealing with flea bites because those are popular flea hide-outs. Flea feces which are black and then turn red when in contact with a damp towel can be a good way of confirming a flea attack. The reason pet owners fret about flea season is that while the flea bite itself causes the dog itchiness and inconvenience, in some dogs it can lead to a tapeworm infestation, flea-bite dermatitis and even anemia. All these are potentially more long-term repercussions and can lead to poor health in your pet. There are cases where owners first notice anemia or tapeworm while the actual flea attack itself goes unnoticed.

If your dog or cat does become a host for these creatures during flea season, there are quite a few treatment options available these days. There are ointments intended to specifically target the eggs, the larvae and the adult fleas. So treatment can be very comprehensive. Those who want to avoid the chemicals in some prescribed medication advocate the use of garlic and brewer's yeast as diet supplements that work well as flea repellents. At the other end of this spectrum are the electronic flea traps which work well in flea season to attract and eradicate the fleas before they can harm a dog. Critics point out though that this treatment does not address the fleas already in the house or for that matter the flea eggs or larvae in the vicinity.

Ultimately the treatment program will have to be customized to the size and physical characteristics of your pet. Knowing the tenacity and ease with fleas latch on to dogs, it is best that you have a plan of action well before the official start of flea season.