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Flea Bites: How to Find them and Keep them from Coming Back

Ever seen a dog breakdance? What looks like playful spinning on carpet or pavement may actually be a clue that your pet is suffering from flea bites. If left undisturbed, fleas can feed on a dog or cat for up to 100 days, causing an exasperating cycle of itching, and then scratching for relief. Flea saliva is the culprit behind the itch, as it contains chemicals which can cause an allergic reaction called flea allergy dermatitis. Flea bites produce the itchy bumps and redness but it’s the resulting scratching, chewing, and licking for immediate relief in dogs and cats with flea allergy dermatitis that can cause skin lesions (among other symptoms) which might lead to infection.

If scratching and chewing aren’t enough to determine whether your pet is suffering from flea bites, there is a simple test you can do at home to find out. You’ll need a clean white surface and a water source. A bathtub is an ideal place for this. Spreading a large sheet of white paper down on a flat surface will also work. Place your pet in the empty bath or on the paper and brush its coat. You’ll be checking for “flea dirt” that may fall out during brushing and will appear to be small black flecks resembling ground pepper. If you find such specks, wet them and see if they turn red. Because a flea’s diet consists of blood, and dried blood is dark and crackly in appearance and texture, “flea dirt” (excrement) will become rust-colored once again if wetted. This simple little test will resolve the question of whether your pet is suffering from flea bites.

Soothe Flea Bites

If your pet is indeed serving as a host to unwanted pests, and you’ve already got hold of them with a brush, now would be a good time to begin treatment! Using Flea & Tick Pets + Home flea and tick spray, gently brush your pet’s fur against the grain, misting the body, belly, legs and tail and brush the product through long fur. And, because Flea & Tick Pets + Home is non-toxic, it can be sprayed directly into the hand and manually applied to an animal’s ears and face. The fleas will be eliminated on contact and this can be done roughly once a week depending on your pet’s activity level or as often as needed. But the root of the problem isn’t the fleas on your pet. It’s the fleas living in your pet’s environment.

Fleas don’t actually live on dogs and cats. They are more nest-specific, living and breeding in temperate places like pet beds and carpet, and jumping onto a host only to feed. So in order to prevent them from coming back, common areas your pet has been can be treated with flea and tick control. And clearing the yard of leaves and debris as well as applying an outdoor flea control like EcoTreat will also eliminate flea breeding grounds.

Flea bites are the result of a complicated chain of events in the flea cycle. Treating your animals directly is the first step in providing relief, but creating a pest-free environment inside and out, is the best bet for alleviating your pet from flea bites.

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