Ctenocephalides canis, more commonly known to you and me as dog fleas, can certainly make your Cocker's life a misery - not to mention yours!
Unfortunately, it's almost inevitable that at some point in your Spaniel's life he'll play host to these annoying little parasites.
They can cause such problems as intense itching and scratching, (which could lead to your pet losing patches of hair and/or infection) tapeworms, anemia and flea allergy dermatitis.
If you need to get rid of an infestation quickly and effectively, it helps to understand their life cycle and their habitat.
If you've never seen a flea before, you'd be forgiven for asking the question, 'What do they look like?'.
If that applies to you, you can follow the above link to see another close up of a flea and a detailed description.
There are four stages in their life cycle: adult, eggs, larvae, and pupae.
Simply killing fleas is not enough; given favourable conditions, any eggs already laid will hatch, and any larvae and pupae will continue to develop and will eventually become adult dog fleas.
Learn more about their life cycle and their habitat.
Flea bites are actually puncture wounds that the flea inflicts when feeding on your (or your Cocker's) blood. They appear as red blotches, may become inflamed and/or swollen, and can be annoyingly itchy!
This allergic reaction is caused by an enzyme in the flea's saliva which causes irritation and an uncontrollable desire to scratch.
If the bites become infected they will probably need treatment.
Flea bites on humans and our pets are no joke - they can, and often do, make our lives miserable!
Flea control needs a systematic approach - first treat your Cocker and break the cycle, and then treat your home.
A natural remedy can be just as effective; there's plenty of safe home remedies to choose from, but I recommend you check with your vet that the one you choose is safe for your Cocker Spaniel.
And remember, flea medication should be applied properly for it to be fully effective for your pet.
If you find fleas on your dog, there's a good chance they're in your home too!
In fact, if you've fleas on your dog you can almost guarantee you'll find fleas in your home too!
Getting rid of fleas in the house will require a thorough strategy as there's a strong possibility that there will be immature fleas, eggs, larvae or pupae deep in the pile of your carpets, as well as on soft furnishings, under the edges of your furniture, and in cracks and crevices.
Getting rid of fleas in your carpets will need your special attention, and may take a little longer, if you are to catch and eliminate all forms of this parasite currently lodged in the fibres of your favourite rugs.
It's important to continue treating your pet and your home until you're certain that they're both clear.
Remember to check your Cocker's coat regularly for ticks as well as fleas or evidence of dog fleas, such as dried blood or eggs.
This can easily be done at night when he's lying quietly. Additionally, you can carry out a more thorough inspection during your Cocker's grooming routine. Grooming Cocker Spaniels on a regular basis, say monthly, will allow you to spot and treat an infestation before it really becomes a problem.
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