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Fleas are small, parasitic insects that feed by sucking blood from mammals and birds. While immature fleas do not bite, adult fleas usually feed several times a day.
Fleas are not just an annoyance, but can cause discomfort to your pet and some pets can even have an allergic reaction to them! They can cause hair loss from frequent scratching and biting, irritated skin (or even a rash if your pet has a flea allergy), anemia in extreme cases, as well as transmitting parasites like tapeworm.
Pets can and should be checked with fleas using a flea comb which can be purchased from your local pet store. Despite not finding live fleas, you may find patches of black particles in the hair that comes out. This is flea dirt, and it means that your pet has had fleas living on them.
You can reduce the chance of fleas coming into your home by:
- keeping cats indoors
- inspecting your pet regularly
- regularly mowing and raking your lawn to discourage animals that may carry fleas
- repairing window screens and other places that unwanted animals can use to enter your home
- covering sandboxes when they are not being used
You can also prevent fleas by using a veterinarian recommended flea treatment. Your veterinarian can prescribe the correct treatment for your pet as there are many options to choose from. Always be sure that you are giving the correct dose and the correct product for the type of pet you have.