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Got Fleas? That bites!

Fleas 101

Fleas vary from 1/16 inch to 1/8 inch in size, and can jump as high as 7 inches and 13 inches horizontally. A single flea can produce 2,000 eggs in her lifetime of approximately 2 months.The flea life cycle is in three stages:  the female flea lays the eggs, which do not attach to the host but fall off wherever your dog or cat is going, their bedding, on rugs, furniture, cracks in the floors etc. These eggs then hatch to a larvae or caterpillar-like stage living in the same areas. The larvae then spin a cocoon or pupae stage until they emerge to be an adult flea. The pupa stage is the most difficult stage to control and eliminate. Once they have hatched, they will jump on your pets keeping the cycle going.

You may realize there is a flea problem if you notice your pet, or yourself, itching a lot, or if you see any small, raised bites. It is important to act quickly because though a flea will start with one family member, they often times jump to other family members in search of a fresh blood supply.


Step 1: Wash

Before pursuing any flea treatment, it is important to clean the entire house, not just your pet's bedding. If possible, wash everything in hot water. While ridding the washable items of fleas, vacuum the floors, couches, etc and clean any hard surfaces to get rid of the pests! Once everything is washed, including your pet, it is time for flea treatment.


Step 2: Treatment

Contact your veterinarian to determine what is the best method to rid your pet of fleas. The doctors will make their recommendations depending on the severity of the side effects and degree of infestation.


Step 3: Prevention

The most important factor in managing a dog with fleas it the application of regular doses of flea treatment on a timely basis. Consult your veterinarian to determine which preventative best fits your pet. Here are some preventatives we recommend:


Frontline Plus: a monthly topical flea and tick preventative for cats and dogs. It is applied every 30 days between the shoulder blades on your pet.


Bravecto: an oral chew for dogs that provides 12-week flea and tick protection.


Sentinel: a chewable tablet given once a month with a meal, this preventative protects your dog from heartworm, roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, and fleas.


Activyl: a monthly topical treatment that kills fleas and prevents infestation in cats and dogs.


Revolution: a monthly topical medication used to protect your pet from heartworms, fleas, and ear mites. It also protects dogs from ticks and sarcoptic mange and cats from roundworms and hookworms.

Oral Hygiene and Your Pet

Dental disease is the most common disease seen by veterinarians: 70-85% of pets over the age of 2 have some form of dental disease. Here are some signs that your pet may have dental disease:


  • bad breath
  • yellow, brown, or discolored teeth
  • loose teeth
  • red, inflammed gums
  • swollen mouth, jaws, or gums
  • pain when eating


Because dental disease has few readily apparent signs, bringing your pet in for a wellness examination with your veterinarian is the only way to ensure detection. Following the exam, your veterinarian may recommend a particular dental cleaning schedule, oral care routine, or special treatment based on your pet?s dental health needs. It is important to have your pet checked for dental disease, as this disease can have major impacts on your pet's organs, including the heart, liver, and kidneys.


 Brushing your pet's teeth is the single most effective means to maintain oral health between dental examinations with your veterinarian. For brushing to be effective, it needs to be done several times each week - daily brushing is best. Smaller dogs may need more frequent brushing. Their teeth are often crowded together, allowing more plaque to accumulate, increasing their risk of developing periodontal disease. Here are some steps to brush your furry friend's teeth:


  1. The first step is to have your pet get used to the taste of the toothpaste. Place a little on your finger and have your pet lick the toothpaste. Try to have your pet accustomed to his teeth being touched by wetting your finger with water and gently rubbing your finger against your pet's teeth.
  2. Once your pet is comfortable with his gums and teeth being touched, you can begin to have your pet accustomed to the texture of the toothbrush. Wet the toothbrush with water and gently brush the teeth in a circular motion.
  3. After brushing your pet's teeth with water, you can place some of the toothpaste onto your finger and coat the outside of your pet's teeth.


*You do not need to place the toothpaste on the toothbrush, but instead on your finger to coat the outside of the teeth after brushing your pet's teeth with water.


The key to success is to be patient and gradual in your approach when brushing your pet's teeth.

Cleaning and Medicating Your Pet's Ears

Proper Ear Cleaning

  1. Lift the ear flap and fill the ear canal with cleaning solutions. The solution will leak out and make a mess, so it is a good idea to do this either in the bathroom or outdoors.
  2. Massage the base of the ear to break up any stinky or chunky debris in the middle ear canal.
  3. Let your pet do the real work, allowing him to shake everything out.
  4. You may use a cotton ball to wipe away everything that comes out of the ear.
  5. You may use a Q-tip in the visible external folds and crevasses to clean the outer ear


Proper Ear Medicating

  1. Carefully follow the labeled instructions with regards to shaking the medication (if needed), keeping it refrigerated (if needed), and how many times it is applied per day.
  2. After squeezing the right amount of medication into the affected ear canal, you will need to massage the base of the ear, so the medication can coat the entire ear canal.
  3. As you massage the ear, you should feel and hear the medication squish aroud as you massage.
  4. Continue to medicate the ears until your next follow up visit, or unless otherwise instructed.