Fleas can be more than a minor irritation to people. After all, they were a crucial step in the spread of the dreaded bubonic plague that wiped out millions of people in past centuries.
Today they can still cause health problems, now most common dermatological conditions, especially in sensitive people.
Even more seriously, they can pass on tapeworms, which is a bigger risk if there are young children in your home.
If your dog is allowed inside, sooner or later you are going to have to deal with a flea problem in your home.
Fleas seem to be everywhere and they seem to find dogs an irresistibly attractive host. The trouble is that flea populations can get firmly established in an environment where a dog lives.
If left, they can multiply very quickly, especially in warm summer months, into an infestation. Then you may find the problem moves beyond your pet, and you and your family start scratching and complaining.
Your worst experience of a flea infestation can come when you return to your closed up house after a holiday away.
Your presence creates warmth, vibrations, and pressure on the floor as you walk around, carbon dioxide in the air as you breathe out, and other indications to flea pupae that there is a potential meal present, and they hatch out.
Suddenly, fleas seem to be everywhere.
The important point you need to understand as a dog owner is that fleas get established in the environment where your pet lives, not just on the dog.
While fleas lay their eggs on the dog shortly after feeding, each flea laying perhaps 20 or more a day, these eggs soon fall off into the dog’s living environment.
That may be its bedding, where it often lies by your favorite chair, where it plays or rests outside, in the carpet where it often comes and goes, and so forth.
The eggs hatch into larvae, which feed on organic material, especially the little dark flea feces that fall from your pet in the same places, and pet hair.
Flea larvae are averse to light and are usually found under the edges of rugs, in bedding or carpet, in cracks or under things like cushions.
In your house, your vacuum cleaner is your first line of defense against fleas. It will collect most adult fleas, eggs, and larvae from your floor, but it is not so effective against pupae that may have stuck to fibers.
Regular thorough vacuum cleaning of the areas where your pet frequents, including under things like rugs and cushions, will stimulate the pupae to hatch and eventually collect these fleas as well. You should also regularly change or wash your pet’s bedding.
Combine those steps with one of the many flea treatments now available for your pet, and you can expect to quickly gain the advantage and take control of a flea infestation problem.
But. to eliminate the flea population fully you will have to also consider seeking the professional help of a pest control service for flea removal and treatment, inside your house and in your yard, or in the environment wherever your pet lives.