Fleas are a big nuisance for your dogs. Harmful and difficult to treat – veterinarians and scientists alike are continuously puzzled as to which treatment can finally eradicate fleas from our pet dogs. Up until now, there is no proven treatment that can do this for our furry friends.
Fleas live in moist areas with warm climates and subsist on blood. Given that they subsist on blood, they will need to penetrate the host’s skin and in order to do so, the flea will break down skin tissue using its saliva. The flea’s saliva has properties that causes the itchy feeling.
To better understand why it is difficult to eradicate fleas, let’s take a look at the stages of its life cycle:
The adult female flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day. Luckily most of these eggs will usually fall of the host animal as the eggs are non-sticky. Depending on the conditions, eggs can hatch from a several days up until a month.
The larvae will break out of their shells using a hard spine that is developed only for this purpose. This hard spine will eventually disappear as the flea grows. They feed on organic matter or dried blood wherever they hatch. This stage can last from 1 week to 2 weeks depending on the conditions. Then the larvae will pupate by producing silk for its cocoon.
This stage has too many factors that can affect its development. Whenever we get treatment for our dogs against fleas, we are addressing the adult fleas. Little do we know that it’s possible there are still flea pupae somewhere going through its natural process waiting for the perfect conditions to be met to come out as an adult flea. This stage – the pupae stage – can last from days to years for it to complete. Air composition, temperature, etc., there are various factors that can contribute to the duration of this stage. Hence, it is difficult to predict when the adult fleas will emerge. This is probably the reason treatment for fleas are not too successful.
Flat-bodied with six legs, the adult flea has bristles all-around its body to help them “swim” in the ocean of fur of their host. They have super strong hind legs that help them jump to enter and exit hosts. This compensates for their lack of wings.
Treatments Against Fleas:
This is the most common method of dealing with fleas. Shampooing our dogs with these specially formulated products will address the adult flea infestation. However, as mentioned above, there will be pupae that is difficult to predict when its process will finally conclude – meaning we think we got rid of the fleas but after a few days or perhaps a year or two, more will come.
A small dose of oily chemical is applied at the back your dog’s neck – between the shoulders. This should be enough to keep away fleas and ticks as well for one month.
The chemical is diluted in water and applied to the dogs using a sponge or poured over at the back. This is no longer considered as a safe way to do treatment against fleas.
These are collars that contain chemicals that kill fleas. It is understood that this can also inhibit larvae and pupae development. However, this method is being considered more as a preventive treatment, rather than reactive to a current infestation of adult fleas.
There are ingested or injected medicine as well that can eradicate flea infestation. It has been advertised that ingested medicine is 11% more effective than topical treatments. I would suggest you consult your veterinarian regarding this matter.