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Top 10 Flea Myths
- Myth: A few fleas are no big deal. Reality: A few fleas can turn into a massive infestation in a hurry. And if your pet is sensitive to flea antigen, even one or two bites can make him very uncomfortable. Your pet deserves to be free of fleas.
- Myth: Pets need flea preventive only a few months out of the year. Reality: In seasonal climates, a warm spring or fall can extend the flea season to 9 to 10 months. Plus, fleas can survive on your pet and inside anywhere. Your pet may not have fleas in the colder months, but all that it take is to come in contact with someone whose pet does have fleas and 1 flea to jump on you and it goes home with you, infesting your home! Year-round flea control is best.
- Myth: I've never seen a flea on my pet, so she doesn't need flea control. Reality: You may in flea denial. Just because you don't see fleas doesn't mean they aren't there. Flea "dirt" or poop is easier to identify. Use a damp paper towel and dab your pet, if you see red/black tiny pieces...your pet has fleas. Even if your pet is clean, she can still pick up fleas at any time, so it's a good idea to protect her.
- Myth: I can get good flea products at the pet store: Reality: Over-the-Counter flea control products are not as potent and therefore not as effective as the prescription products. Some are even toxic, especially if administered incorrectly. At State Road Animal Hospital we have had several pets with neurological damage and seizures, so play it safe and purchase your pet's protection from your veterinarian.
- Myth: Once I treat my pet and the fleas go away, my work is done. Reality: One of the biggest mistakes pet owners make is to stop giving a flea product after the fleas go away. One of the reasons you need to provide continuous control is this: Pets can become ultra-sensitive to fleas if they're intermittently exposed. In other words, if you notice fleas, treat them, and 3 months later they come back, and then you treat them again and 3 months later they come back again, your pet is more likely to develop flea allergy dermatitis - a miserable condition that causes itchiness, lesions, and hair loss. Don't let fleas come back at all, and your pet is at a much lower risk of flea allergy.
- Myth: I only need to treat my one flea-ridden pet, not the other pets in my household. Reality: All pets in your household need to be treated. Some pets are more sensitive to fleas than others, so if you treat only the pet that's scratching, she's likely to be refinfested by other pets that also have fleas but aren't giving you any itchy signals. So make sure to treat all your pets, otherwise, you are just wasting your money.
- Myth: I can't afford to give flea prevention monthly. Reality: Compared to the stress and cost of treating flea-related illnesses, monthly control is a low-cost alternative. If you can't afford to pay for a year's worth at a time, that is okay. Come in each month and get 1 month's supply at a time.
- Myth: My pet stays in the back yard, so he won't pick up fleas. Reality: Your yard is constantly being visited by wildlife such as raccoons and opposums, as well as other neighborhood pets, like cats. These animals can spread flea eggs, which can infest your pet when he goes outside.
- Myth: All flea preventatives protect pets from fleas only. Reality: Flea products are often combined with agents that control other parasites as well, helping protect your pets from additional diseases-some of which can be transmitted to you. So keeping pets on flea control is best for the whole family.
- Myth: Flea products are toxic. Reality: Unlike "natural" products, prescription flea control agents have been extensively tested and approved by the FDA. Our veterinarians and the staff at State Road Animal Hospital use these products on our own pets. Our doctors would be happy to answer any of your safety questions.
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