Adult fleas feed on blood. These insects have adapted well to indoor living, where infestations can occur year round, but are more frequent in late summer to early fall; this is the time when pets should be checked regularly. Various flea control products are available for cats and dogs.
A dog or cat that licks, scratches or bites itself more often than usual is a sign that it has fleas. The fleas usually congregate around the neck and tail areas and are easy to find if you look closely as you separate the animal’s fur. Another way to detect fleas is to take a cotton pad moistened with detergent and run it over the animal’s skin to collect flea dirt, which is basically dried blood.
Various commercial products are available to treat infested animals. Talk to a veterinarian to help you determine the best treatment for your pet, then carefully follow the directions on the label.
To eliminate fleas in your home, thoroughly clean all the areas where your pet spends a lot of time. Vacuum once a week to remove eggs, larvae and young adults, paying particular attention to cracks and crevices in floors and along baseboards. Move the furniture and vacuum those areas, then wash the floors. Wash all pet bedding in hot, soapy water every two to three weeks. Steam clean carpets.
To check for adult fleas in a particular area, place a sheet of white paper on the floor. You will easily see the fleas that jump on the paper.