There are about 2,500 species of fleas in the world. However, the one that you may see on your dog or cat is, Ctenocephalides felis, or the cat flea. Some of the signs to look for that may indicate that your pet has fleas are scratching, seeing flea dirt (resembles pepper on your pet’s skin), redness to skin, and/or chewing. The area that you may see your dog chewing at is usually the lower back and at the base of the tail but can be anywhere on their body.
There are several different medications that can be used to help prevent flea infestation. Some include oral medications (given by mouth) or topical treatments (applied to the skin). NexGard is a once a month chewable tablet for dogs for the treatment of fleas and ticks and currently the prevention of choice at our clinic. Cats can be very sensitive or reactive to flea and tick preventatives, especially those that can be purchased over-the-counter. We currently recommend Revolution for cats. Revolution is a once a month topical medication that treats and prevents fleas, ticks, and many other parasites. Never use a dog flea and tick preventative on a cat. Talk to one of our friendly staff members to see what option is best for your pet.
While monthly preventatives are the best way to keep your pet free from fleas and ticks, there are some other things you can do to help keep flea populations to a minimum. Vacuuming carpets and rugs or other places where flea eggs may be hiding can help rid future generations of fleas from even hatching in the first place. Sending bedding and toys through the laundry can help cut down on fleas counts. Periodically having an exterminator visit is another option as well.