If you're a pet owner, you're well aware of the potential irritation (both literal and figurative) that fleas can bring into your life.
These tiny, minuscule biting critters (they measure only 1/12 to 1/6 inch in length) can cause chaos for your pets, your kids, and even yourself. The harm they cause goes beyond the physical aspect—constant itching and scratching can take a toll on your mental well-being too.
First things first: Fleas are parasites that thrive on the blood of warm-blooded animals (they’re almost like little vampires in that regard). The most common species encountered by homeowners is the cat flea, which, unfortunately, doesn’t restrict itself to felines alone. These are the fleas you treat your pets (primarily cats and dogs) for, usually with a once-a-month regimen.
The lifespan of a flea lasts a little over three months (around 100 days), and during most of that period, female fleas are busy giving birth to baby fleas. In those 100 days, a single female flea can bring about 400 to 500 little ones into the world (that’s roughly 4 to 5 offspring every single day).
Like most bloodsucking parasites, fleas catch rides on rodents and other mammals, clinging to their hosts with tenacity, jumping as high as eight inches vertically. With their impressive leaping skills, one might think they could score a spot on an NBA team. Imagine if humans could jump 150 times their own height like fleas—skyscrapers would be no obstacle (Superman might even get a bit envious, but that’s another story).
Now, no need to panic, but it’s worth mentioning that fleas were once carriers of the bubonic plague, which caused the demise of 25 million people during a five-year period. Alright, that was way back in the 14th century in Europe, and we’ve made substantial strides in disease prevention through improved sanitation. Nevertheless, a little caution never hurts.
Flea saliva can trigger serious flea allergic dermatitis in pets, and sometimes provoke similar reactions in humans. They’re also capable of transmitting tapeworms and causing anemia in pets, making flea treatments a crucial part of your pet’s well-being. Lastly, their bites often lead to painful, itchy red bumps. Clearly, fleas bring a whole lot of trouble. So, let’s steer clear of them.