Jumping – Biting
Between 0.06 to 0.13 inches. The females are bigger than the males.
Dog fleas are external parasites, living by hematophagy off the blood of dogs. The dog often experiences severe itching in all areas where the fleas may reside. Although they feed on the blood of dogs and cats, they sometimes bite humans. They can live without food for several months, but females must have a blood meal before they can produce eggs.
The flea’s host is a warm-blooded animal, such as a dog or cat, or even humans. These small dark brown insects prefer temperatures of 18-27 degrees Celsius and humidity levels of 75-85 percent. So, for certain areas and countries they are more than just a “summer” problem.
Dogs and cats often get infested with fleas through contact with other animals or contact with fleas in the environment. The strong back legs of this insect enable it to jump from host to host or from the environment onto the host. Fleas do not have wings, so they cannot fly. The flea’s bite can cause itching for the host, but for a sensitive or flea-allergic animal, this itching can be quite severe and leads to hair-loss, inflammation and secondary skin infections. Some pets, hypersensitive to the flea’s saliva, will itch all over from the bite of even a single flea.
Tips for Control
If you’ve discovered that your dog or cat has fleas, there are a few things you can do to provide your pet with immediate relief.
Chemical flea removal options
Unfortunately, fleas are annoying and persistent, so there is no instantaneous way to remove fleas from your dog or cat. However, pills and other spot-on chemical treatments have proven to be some of the fastest ways to rid your pet of fleas. Capstar is one option to remove fleas from dogs and cats. It’s a tablet that when taken orally, begins to work within 30-minutes and kills 90% of all fleas within four hours. Spot-on flea treatments tend to take a few days to work and some only target flea eggs while other target adults, so it’s important to buy the right one.
Non-Chemical flea removal options
If you’d prefer to go the more natural route, there are several flea removal shampoos for dogs and cats on the market that are quite effective. You’ll need to consider whether or not your pet can stand being soaking wet and lathered up for ten minutes though, since that’s how long the shampoo takes to sink in. Following a nice warm bath, you’ll have killed the fleas and will be able to use a flea comb to remove the fleas from your dog – don’t worry, they’re dead.