Fido's Flea Problem Is A Pet Owner's Nightmare

A beloved pet is scratching up a storm on the family couch. A closer examination of the animal's coat and the owner sees tiny brown specs scurrying along the animal's skin- fleas. According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), fleas are not only an itchy annoyance. These pests can also be a major headache for homeowners trying to control infestations.

"Fleas are known for their quick breeding capabilities and a handful can quickly turn into hundreds if left unchecked," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. "Their small size and mobility make it impossible to find them on surfaces such as carpets and linens, but a pest professional can help to eradicate an infestation."

Fleas feed on warm-blooded hosts, including humans. Known for leaving itchy, red bumps, these parasites are also known for transporting themselves on rodents and other mammals by using their powerful legs to jump as high as 8 inches vertically and 16 inches horizontally. 

NPMA offers tips for pet owners this season:

  • Check pets frequently for fleas and flea dirt, especially after being outside.  Be aware of excessive scratching, licking and nibbling grooming behavior in pets.
  • Avoid walking pets in tall grass where there is a greater chance of fleas hitching a ride.
  • Bathe pets after walks or playtime with other animals as fleas can jump from host to host.
  • Talk with a veterinarian about prevention and treatment options available to kill fleas and flea eggs.
  • Wash pet bedding, collars and plush toys.
  • Wash bed linens and vacuum carpets, floors and furniture frequently. Empty vacuum bags/collectors and throw the contents away in an outside receptacle.
  • If you suspect a flea infestation, contact a licensed pest professional immediately to treat the pest problem.