Fleas are blood-sucking parasites that can cause health problems for our fur friends. If your pet has fleas, he may suffer from an allergic reaction to the flea’s saliva, or even develop anemia from the loss of blood. And while they don’t pose a serious risk to us, we do not want them in our homes. But do we have to protect them from fleas year-round?

What Are Fleas, Exactly?

More than 2,500 different species of fleas exist, yet one is the most common among American dogs and cats. It’s called Ctenocephalides felis, or the cat flea. That’s right. If your dog has fleas, they’re most likely cat fleas.

Fleas are the most common external parasites on dogs. Adult fleas are about an eighth of an inch long. They’re reddish-brown and very thin. It’s difficult to see what they look like without a microscope (though it’s easier on light-colored fur), but they do have big back legs. They can jump, by some measurements, upward and outward at least a foot in a single leap. And one estimation finds that for every adult flea found on your pet, there are at least 100 immature ones hanging around.

The reason for the itch is that when fleas bite, their salivary glands release a substance that causes skin irritation.

How To Treat Fleas

Fighting a flea infestation on your dog can be emotional and a lot of work. Treat your dog with a fast-acting oral flea treatment recommended by your vet. Then use a flea comb — dip comb in a mixture of dish soap and water to kill remaining fleas on the comb. And follow up with a flea shampoo.

When To Treat Fleas

It’s best to use a flea preventive year-round. Though many species of ticks and fleas are slowed down or dormant during the winter, these parasites still exist during the winter. Because ticks and fleas can carry diseases that could harm your dog, it’s best to keep them protected all year long.

Oral treatments are available from your vet and come in simple chews that dogs actually like to take, thanks to their flavoring. Your vet will work with you to choose the prevention method that works best for you and your dog.

At PetWow, we believe in promoting a healthy lifestyle for our furry friends, that’s why we work hard to create a positive experience for them during their visits. More than 20,000 pet parents trust the health and grooming of their best friends to us, and we take that care seriously. To schedule your appointment, call us today at 513-738-9691 to schedule your appointment at our Highland Heights or Florence Kentucky locations, or for At Home Veterinary Care. For more pet care tips, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or LinkedIn!