The Dangers of Flea Bites for You and Your Pet
Flea bites are itchy and obnoxious — what can you do? If you have pets, you have to deal with fleas. Right? After all, how dangerous are fleas, anyway? Flea bites can cause more serious problems than you might think.
For people sensitive to them, flea bites can range from irritating to maddening for animals and people. They can also pose serious health issues for your pets, family, and you. The dangers of flea bites go well beyond skin deep! Let’s take a closer look at how flea bites can have an adverse effect on you and your pets.
The Most Common Flea-Borne Diseases and Illnesses
While most flea bites are simply irritating, there are several dangers of flea bites that can be much more severe for people and animals.
Flea Allergy Dermatitis
The most common flea-borne disease is flea allergy dermatitis. This is an immunologic disease caused by an allergy to the fleas’ saliva and is both a common and serious danger of flea bites. Symptoms of flea allergy dermatitis can be severe, and include:
- Intense itching all over the body
- Red, oozing lesions call hot spots
- Skin inflammation
- Hair loss
- Painful scabs
Dogs and cats afflicted with flea allergy dermatitis are driven to scratch, lick, chew, and bite at their itchy skin, even tugging out tufts of fur to relieve the itching and discomfort. Sadly, the only effective treatment for this flea-borne disease is to completely stop the flea bites by removing the biters from your pet, your home, and your yard.
Another way that fleas are dangerous is because they are often infected by Bartonella bacteria and can spread the infection to the animals they bite. In dogs and especially cats, Bartonella is associated with severe conditions, including heart disease, eye inflammation, and seizures. Treatment requires extensive use of antibiotics over an extended period of time.
Bartonella is also one of the dangers of flea bites to humans. If an infected flea bites a cat, the bacteria replicate in the cat’s bloodstream. When the cat scratches, it can get bacteria on its claws. If it then scratches or bites a human, that person may contract cat scratch fever. While a fairly uncommon infection, its symptoms range from problematic to devastating, including:
- Loss of appetite
- Severe muscle pain
- Serious eye infection
- Swelling of the brain (encephalitis)
Tapeworms are another common danger of flea bites. As dogs and cats lick and groom the site of irritating flea bites, they may ingest a flea. If the flea has ingested tapeworm eggs, the eggs can pass into your pet’s digestive system. That can result in a tapeworm developing in your pet’s intestines. The worm’s sucker-like mouth hooks into the intestinal walls, where it continues to eat and grow.
Tapeworms symptoms in pets include:
- Weight loss, even with normal food intake
- Dull coat
- Itchy anus, leading to pats “scooting” along on their rear
It is possible, though rare, for humans to be infected by a tapeworm.
Additional Threats to Your Pet
Fortunately, the possible dangers of flea bites described above don’t happen with every flea bite. However, in addition to itching and irritation, there is an additional threat to your pet and family that occurs with every bite. Anemia.
Anemia is one of the dangers of flea bites that affects people as well as pets. Every time a flea bites, it drinks blood. While no single bite drains a significant volume of blood, each bite adds up.
Generally, healthy people and pets affected by flea bite anemia will just feel bad, fatigued, and lethargic. However, sick or infirm pets, kittens, or puppies are at a greater risk of anemia when bitten by fleas over an extended period of time.
How Can You Prevent Fleas?
The only way to completely avoid the dangers of flea bites is to prevent them from happening. Preventing flea bites on your pet is far easier than eradicating a flea infestation, but it takes effort. Let’s see what you can do to prevent fleas from infesting your pets, home, and yard.
Preventing Fleas on Your Pet
The first place to prevent fleas is directly on your pet, the most susceptible host to the nasty biters. These are the best ways to protect your pet from the dangers of flea bites:
- Flea collars are an effective part of a multi-pronged flea prevention approach.
- Monthly, topical flea treatments can kill adult fleas and eggs.
- Prevent your pets from spending time in flea-infested locations, including your yard. If your pet(s) do spend a lot of time outdoors, schedule a barrier treatment to effectively reduce the risk of flea and tick bites.
- Brush pets regularly using a flea comb.
- Bathe pets regularly using a flea shampoo (check your pets’ sensitivity to specific products – some pets react adversely to certain shampoo ingredients).
Preventing Fleas in Your Home
Preventing fleas in your home largely depends upon keeping them off your pets and your property. However, the following care will help keep fleas out of your home:
- Sweep and vacuum frequently and well. Vacuum carpets, rugs, and sofa cushions. Empty the vacuum outdoors, so living fleas and viable eggs don’t get back in.
- Wash the bedding, yours and your pet’s, frequently.
Preventing Fleas on Your Property
Avoiding the dangers of flea bites relies most heavily on keeping fleas off your property and away from your pets. The following steps will help keep your property free from biters:
- Mow your grass frequently.
- Avoid over-watering your lawn and landscaping.
- Fix any irrigation leaks and leaky faucets.
- Treat dog houses or dog runs with insecticide for fleas.
- Keep weeds, fallen leaves, and garden litter off your property.
- Keep wildlife away from your property.
- Do not store food outdoors.
- Keep tight lids on trash cans.
- Contract Mosquito Joe for regular flea control treatments
Contact Mosquito Joe for Effective Flea Control
Fleas and the dangers of flea bites are common problems for pets and their parents. You don’t have to fight them alone! Mosquito Joe makes the outside fun again by controlling nasty biters like mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks.
Our barrier treatment sprays seek out pests where they hide, live, and breed. Not only can we make your yard and garden safe again for you and your pets, but we also provide clear, actionable tips to protect you, your family, your pets, and your property. Request a quote using our online form, or give us a call at 1-855-275-2563. We look forward to answering your questions!