Does your pet have dog flea? If you have a pet dog that you regularly bathe and groom, it is still possible that it will get dog fleas in one way or another. Dogs can easily catch dog fleas with just a single visit from a flea-infested animal in the neighborhood. Dog fleas may even hop into your house from outside. They are external parasites that thrive on warm-blooded and furry animals. They live and multiply by sucking blood from the host dog.
Dog fleas (Ctenocephalides canis) undergo the four-stages of development, the embryo, larva, pupa and imago (adult). A female dog flea can lay as much as 1500 eggs in its life. In as short as 2-3 weeks, the eggs can develop into adult flea in warm temperature. Dog fleas can actually survive for several months without food but for the female fleas to lay eggs, they need to suck blood from the host animal.
Dog Flea Life Cycle
Knowing the different stages in the life cycle of the dog flea will give you an idea of how fast you must remedy the problem before fleas make your dog’s life and yours miserable.
Eggs laid by a single female dog flea can be as many as 50 eggs daily. They do not stick to the furs but drop from pet into your carpets or backyard soil. They will hatch in two days if the weather is warm and humid, or five days in other conditions.
This stage usually takes about 5-15 days. Larvae are very minute worm-like creature that may not be visible to your eyes. They prefer the dark places of your house or yard, and feed on “flea dirt” or “flea poops” excreted by adult fleas. These flea dirt looks like tiny black pepper that you usually find under your dog’s bell. But when you rub it with your fingers in a little water, you will notice that it will turn red; a proof that your pet has dog fleas and they’re in your house! The larvae will develop and shed their molt twice before they spin their cocoons and go through the pupa stage.
For about 8 to 9 days, the larvae begin to develop into adult fleas inside the cocoon. Pupae can remain inactive for many months if the weather condition is cool. They will wait until they have spotted a host animal.
Adult dog fleas come out from their cocoons when they perceive heat, throbbing and carbon dioxide from a nearby host. They hop on the host, mate with adult fleas and begin with reproduction over again for as short as 3 to 4 weeks of the life cycle.
Dog Flea Symptoms
How do you know your pet has dog fleas? When your pet starts to scratch its back, you know that you have a dog flea problem. When it becomes too frequent and annoying, it scratches excessively as the dog fleas bite at its skin. Another warning signal is the presence of flea dirt or black tiny flecks on your dog that you find when combing its hair. Dog fleas may be harmful to animals as well as to humans.
- Severe scratching, itching and skin irritation will result to flea allergic dermatitis to pets. Some small children, too can develop severe itching from flea bites and cause skin irritation.
- When dog fleas are accidentally ingested by animals and humans, it can cause tapeworm infection (Dipylidium caninum). Adult dog fleas are carriers of microscopic tapeworm eggs which may have been ingested by flea larvae.
- Dogs may develop anemia if too much blood is lost because of the dog fleas that infested their bodies.
Preventing your pets from getting infested by dog fleas is easy. The best way is to always groom your pet so you can spot the presence of dog fleas on its body. If you see at least 5 dog fleas, it’s time to take action. Visit your vet and ask for any treatment that will be safe to use and will immediately kill the dog fleas. There are popular brands of topical treatment that your vet can recommend such as Frontline Plus, K9 Advantix and Advantage. You can read some reviews and comments about these brands and get the best treatment for dog fleas. You may also try natural and homemade flea treatment if you think you have a mild problem on fleas dog.