Adult fleas live on dogs and cats but they only live for 4 days if they lose their host. Once the female flea feeds on blood she will breed and lay eggs which then drop off the host and into the surrounding environment. All of the eggs and larvae live and then hatch out in a few days on the bedding, carpeting and/or outdoors preferring warm, humid and/or shaded areas outside. The typical life cycle from egg to adult can be anywhere from 1 to 8 months depending on the temperature and/or the amount of food available. The flea population consists of 50% eggs, 35% larvae, 10% pupae – all of which live in the environment – and 5% adults all of which live on the dogs. Dogs living in warmer climates have more of a problem with fleas than those living in colder climates. Once the temperature falls below freezing for several days in a row, adult fleas outside will die but the larvae will not. And of course, freezing temperatures have no effect on indoor fleas and/or their larvae.
Fleas survive by biting into the skin and feeding on the blood of its host which causes the dogs to itch and scratch. At the same time the flea’s saliva comes into contact with the blood which is what causes the allergy reactions in sensitive pets. Pets with actual flea allergies will react with more intense scratching over the entire body, biting at the tail, red and inflamed skin, and some hair loss.
Prevention & Treatment
To prevent infestations and to control the reproduction of fleas all of the bedding must be cleaned and/or washed daily. The surrounding area should be vacuumed twice daily until there are no longer signs of any parasites on the pet. Then apply a few drops of essential oils on the bedding and flooring to discourage the life cycle. Oils of peppermint, cedarwood, orange and/or pennyroyal are effective however they should be diluted and never used full strength. Diluted essential oils can also be used directly on the dogs (not cats) to prevent fleas from jumping on board but should be used with caution – remember a dog’s sense of smell could be a thousand or more times more sensitive than yours.
The best treatment however is a strong immune system and healthy undamaged skin:
Skin-Heal Herbal Blend strengthens the immune system, heals the skin and repels fleas. It also helps discourage the reproduction of fleas.
Vitamin C acidifies the acid mantle of the skin which also repels fleas. Use for one month.
Immune Boost can be used for those dogs with poor immunity and/or chronic health problems.
Kava’s Healing Oil (tea tree oil, goldenseal and olive oil) should be applied externally to all allergy reactions, rashes or hot spots. Do not use on cats.
And always ensure a healthy diet – healthy pets resist unhealthy parasites.
Marijke van de Water, B.Sc., DHMS
Animal Health & Nutrition Specialist
Medical Intuitive & Healer
Author & Educator
“Healing Horses Their Way!”
“Healing People The Marijke Method”