Common Flea Myths

Fleas – gross, pests, carriers of disease.  These tiny little creatures cause big problems for us and our pets.  Not only do they cause discomfort to your pets, but they can also cause other medical problems, like flea allergy dermatitis that makes your pet miserable.  They can also carry some nasty diseases for both us and our furry babies.

In this blog, we are going to cover some of the most common myths when it comes to fleas.

Myth #1

I only saw a couple of fleas.  I don’t have a flea problem.

Maybe. But it’s much more likely that you’re seeing only the tip of the iceberg. Whether you should worry depends on several factors:

  • How many fleas you’re finding on your dog or cat
  • Whether your pet has been treated previously with a flea-control product
  • And if your cat or dog has been treated, which product was used and when was it last applied or given.

If your pet was treated with a product that provides month-long adult flea control (and hopefully an ingredient that stops insect growth) and you’re finding five or fewer adult fleas, then you may be seeing fleas from around the environment. These are fleas that your dog or cat picks up outdoors from locations frequented by other pets, stray or feral animals, or wildlife such as opossums and raccoons. Fleas also can hitch a ride into your home on you and your clothing, visitors whose pets may have fleas and even visiting pets.

Make sure you are using a monthly flea preventative for all your pets.  Also, keep in mind the adult fleas you are seeing are only a mere 5% of the population.  The remainder of the population is in the environment in forms of eggs, larva, and pupa.

Myth #2

The only pets in the home that need to be treated are those with fleas.

This is not true at all! Especially if you want to avoid a flea infestation. In order to prevent an infestation, every pet in the household should be on a flea control product.

While fleas do not typically jump from one pet to another, they may jump off the pet to reproduce, and later jump back on another pet.  Some pets are more sensitive to fleas, and may be showing signs of fleas (scratching, red skin, hair loss) from one single bite from one single flea, while other pets may not exhibit any signs at all, and have several fleas on them.

The only way to truly prevent an infestation in your home is to make sure that every pet is covered.

Myth #3

Homes without carpeting cannot become infested with fleas.

Fleas are very resilient and can live in several different types of environments.  This means cracks of hardwood floors, laminate floors, tile floors, and along the baseboards in your home.  They also like to hide in bedding, and you guessed it, they aren’t partial to just pet bedding, they will also live in your bedding.  So if your dog or cat sleeps on the bed with you, and isn’t on a flea preventative, chances are there are probably some form of a flea in your bedding.  Anywhere your pet decides to stop and rest, you’ll find the different life forms of fleas.


Myth #4

If you treat your pet with a flea control product, you won’t see fleas on him.

You’re probably wondering, why do we recommend prevention so much if I’m still going to be seeing fleas on my pet.  There are several reasons you may still be seeing fleas.  The most common is because there are still juvenile forms in the environment.  As those eggs hatch, the adults will jump on your pet.  The good news, these should be dead within 24 hours or less.  Another reason, they’ve gone outside and have found an area where there may be fleas hiding.  Good news for this, is again, the preventative will kill the adults, and they shouldn’t have the chance to reproduce before the preventative takes action.

Myth #5

Once fleas are removed from your pet, the flea problem is solved.

Unfortunately, this one is not true either.  As mentioned earlier the adults that you are seeing are only a mere 5% of the population.  So once the adults from today are dead, you won’t be seeing them anymore, but as the immature stages develop into adults, you will continue to see those fleas.  This is why we also recommend treating the environment as well.  You can eventually get rid of the flea population just by treating your pets, but this can take up to 6 months before they are gone.


Myth #6

You only need to treat your pets during the summer months

This is a big myth here in Oklahoma.  It takes temperature below 30 degrees for a minimum of five days in a row to kill fleas.  And we usually recommend two hard freezes with no warm weather in between to kill the fleas.  Unfortunately, in Oklahoma, we don’t usually have this scenario.  As we go through our phases of warming up in between the freezes, eggs hatch, adults come out to play, and more eggs are laid.  We never fully get rid of fleas in Oklahoma.  This is why we recommend using a flea preventative all year round.

So what should you be doing?  There are several options out there for flea prevention.  Whether you choose a topical, collar, or oral flea preventative, speak with your veterinarian to find out which ones are effective, and which ones are not effective.  Make sure you are following the manufacturer recommended dosing to get the most effective prevention for your baby.  Is it a monthly preventative, a quarterly preventative, or a collar that lasts for several months?  Also, keep in mind, ticks are just as bad here in Oklahoma, and you may want a preventative that covers ticks as well.

Whatever you decide, make sure your babies are covered for all 12 months out of the year.  It’s much easier to prevent a flea infestation than to treat one, and the possible medical issues they can cause.

Questions about fleas, or want to bring your pet in for an exam, give us a call!  918-481-1693

We want your pet to be happy and flea free!

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