flea on dog

I found a flea on our dog yesterday. She has never had any on her before. She is treated with Advantix for 7 months of the year. A visitor came in the house a few hours previous to finding the flea and he has a cat and had just been around someones dog. Is it possible the flea came in on him? We will continue to check the dog today but I am hoping this is an isolated incident. Your thoughts please.

If you review our FLEA CONTROL ARTICLE, you’ll learn the way fleas get into the home are numerous. And though they can hitch a ride on anyone that enters, they tend to “choose” animals over people big time. That means even if your friend had encountered a flea earlier in the day, it may have fed upon him for a moment or two but after that the chances are high it would jump off him immediately after getting a blood meal. As our article explains, fleas are not “comfortable” on people which is why you rarely find bunches of fleas on humans like you do on animals.

Which leads us to the question of just where that single lone flea came from then if not from your friend? Well, the list of possibilities as to where is quite long as our article explains. Even if it’s cold outside, flea pupae can most certainly endure seasonal fluctuations of outside temperature but more importantly, they’re many times ready to pounce upon any available food supply that might pass by all year long. This is true even in the middle of a cold winter. So if a squirrel, another dog, cat, raccoon or some other animal on the long list of mammals upon which fleas can live were in your yard, it’s a lot more likely a flea or two could find their way to you or your pet via one of these indirect “outside” intrusions. In fact, this is probably how 90% of “inside the home” flea problems start.

So what now should you do? Minimally I’d say to watch your pet closely. It’s entirely possible this was an isolated case and there won’t be any more found in the home or on your pet in the near future. However, it’s more likely that where this single flea was thriving more are laying in wait ready to strike. As our article explains, the direct pet treatments like Advantage will no doubt deal with fleas who jump on treated pets but by no means should this be considered to be any kind of treatment for the yard or home. This means every time a person or animal enters the home or yard, these areas will be subject to flea contamination. And if any one of these encounters introduces a single pregnant flea, hundreds of eggs can be laid so the chances of an outbreak are always around if you don’t treat these areas with the same diligence and concern as the pet. Flea control involves an ongoing maintenance program which should include the yard and in some cases the home. You don’t state if either have been treated so for starters, I’d start watching both areas regardless of what’s been done in the past.

Second, I recommend setting out at least one FLEA TRAP inside the home. These traps do a great job of both monitoring and capturing adult fleas and many times they’ll be the “alarm” that goes off alerting the homeowner that a flea problem is rapidly developing. I’d place one in any room where the pet frequents and move it about the home throughout the year. If nothing else it will serve as a way to rule out the home as a flea producing area; in the worse case scenario it will start to capture a bunch but at least you will then be able to act with some certainty as to where the fleas are originating. Flea Traps are the easiest thing to employ and arguably the most you can do short of a treatment.  And since Flea Traps will work for you 24 hours a day,  7 days a week, they’re a great way to monitor any residence for the presence of fleas.

Here are direct links to the information and products listed above:

Flea Control Article:  www.flea.net/flea-control

Flea Trap:  www.bugspray.com/catalog/products/page22.html