External Parasites, Fleas, Ctenocephalides felis, Pyrethrins.

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Fleas

These pests are not only a dog's worst enemy but also an enemy to you, your house, your yard, and your pocketbook. Once fleas infiltrate the area, they can be very difficult to get rid of. Many dogs are allergic to a flea bite, and in some cases, it only takes one flea bite to start an allergic reaction. This can result in open sores or flea bite dermatitis. A heavy load of fleas on a small puppy can cause serious anemia. Fleas will even enjoy a meal of your blood if they get the chance, along with any furry pets such as rabbits and cats.

Fleas are found in many areas, living for short periods of time on the ground or in houses, though they must be on their hosts to feed and breed. Fleas can jump from one dog to another and can be shared with cats, rabbits, squirrels, and other wildlife.

Most of the fleas we see on our dogs are actually the cat flea-Ctenocephalides felis. Your puppy picked them up by going outside in a grassy area or from another dog or cat who had them. Fleas have four stages in their 30-day life cycle: the egg, larvae, pupae, and adult.

The egg is white, oval, and glossy. Most are laid on the pet and then fall off in the house, especially where the dog sleeps. A single female can lay about a dozen eggs per day. The eggs hatch in one to two weeks under the right temperature and humidity conditions (warm and humid).

The larvae emerge from the egg. These look like small worms. They stay in the rug or bedding or crawl under furniture, where it's dark, molting several times over weeks to months.
The last stage of the larva spins a cocoon and is now called a pupa.

Pupa undergoes changes in the cocoon that turn them into adult fleas. This process is quite variable and can take between 21 to 28 days. The adults are what most of us see on the dog. They bite and suck blood. They are like heat-seeking missiles, targeting any warm body.

Prevention

Preventing flea infestation is easier than getting rid of them; no one product is going to correct the problem. Not only will the dog require treatment, but so will the environment.

However, some products are not usable on young puppies, and treating fleas should be done under your veterinarian's guidance. This means the best plan for fighting fleas is to take action before you see evidence of them. When warm weather approaches, start thinking about flea control, which is often combined with tick control. There are new medications that act as flea birth control by interfering with the development of the flea's protective chitin covering. Insect growth regulators stop any fleas that get on your dog from successfully reproducing. Finally, you can also find drugs that act to kill fleas. Many of these medications now come in topical forms that can be applied to your dog once monthly. Pyrethrins (from chrysanthemums) are found in many flea-control products.