Dogs frequently get infested with fleas thanks to their contact with other dogs, wild animals or with the insects moving environment. Fleas have strong back legs, and it is easy for them to jump from host to host.
The flea bite causes itching in dogs. However, the situation is more complicated when a host dog is flea-allergic or sensitive. In such circumstances, itching can be more intense and severe and may lead to inflammation, hair-loss or secondary skin infections.
A flea deposits a small amount of saliva in the skin when it bites a dog. A hypersensitive dog can develop Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD) because of the saliva. In addition to your pet biting or scratching intensively around the groin, tail or backside, scabs or bumps may also appear on its back or neck. Such hypersensitive pets will itch all over from the bite of even a single flea.
If too many fleas suck blood from your dog, he may face anemia. Dogs may also become infected with tapeworms after ingesting an infected flea.
The fact is that the fleas have a “different style” of development, entirely different from that of humans or pets. Their life consists of four stages: eggs hatch into larvae; the latter develops into pupae and only after an adult flea emerges to make meals on our dog’s skin and us as well.
Fleas lay eggs on a dog and the flea larvae hatch from them. The eggs are similar to tiny balls, and they never stay on the pets, they fall and spread in the house, in a dog’s shelter, everywhere your pet may move, stretch or shake.
Larvae which hatch from the eggs are like “vampires,” they hate light and prefer dark environments to develop. As soon as they are settled away from light, the larvae—which can make up about 1/3rd of the flea population in a home—spend one to two weeks developing and feeding on organic debris and the so-called flea “dirt.”
The flea dirt refers to the dried feces of adult fleas that is mostly just dried blood.
In the process of developing and feeding the larvae spins cocoons to enter their pupal stage, a stage preceding the production of adult fleas.
How to fight and prevent the flea larvae?
Fighting with the larvae is different from the combat with adult fleas, which can be killed by topical treatment, flea-preventative oral medications or with shampoos.
One of the best methods you can address at home is vacuum cleaning. Use a beater bar attachment to pick up larvae and eggs on floors and a dog’s bedding. It is mandatory to seal and destroy the vacuum bag after cleaning, or wash the cleaner’s cup and send the “defeated enemy” out of the house to give them the final stroke.
Some larvae and eggs may remain after the vacuum cleaning. There are different flea control sprays and foggers you can use not to miss even a single flea producer. Consulting a vet when choosing the product is crucial as they are different and the vet will give a good advice taking your lifestyle, your pet and environment you live in into account.
It is not the happy end you are waiting for. Preventing the re-infestation is of high importance as you dog may anytime catch a new flea as soon as he appears with some other animals, especially if you live near a park or a recreation zone.
Many animals like foxes, coyotes, bobcats, skunks, cattle, raccoons, possums, rodents, ferrets host the same fleas as dogs. To keep a dog indoor, in a safe environment and avoid his contact with wild animals can be one of the outcomes to prevent the flea larvae. As the larvae are “crazy about” darkness, try to keep your dog out of such areas in your house and the yard.
If you regularly wash your pet’s blanket, bedding, and other washable things in hot water this can be a step forward against the larvae. Also, keep your yard neat, mow your lawn and rake up any leaves, brush or clippings. Periodically hang rugs, door mats, and other non-washable items in direct sunlight.