Fleas are ectoparasites that are common throughout the world. They feed on the blood of domestic and wild animals and people. Two species are mainly parasitic on cats and dogs: canine flea (Ctenocephalides canis) and cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis). At the same time, bloodsuckers do not specialize in any one type of host and without any problems switch from one to another. Thus, cat and dog fleas, similar in species characteristics, live on cats and dogs and equally attack humans.
In addition, rat and human fleas are found in cities, and hundreds of other species are found in natural foci. In this article, we will dwell on the dog flea. We will discuss whether dog fleas can bite a person, in which situations dog fleas are transmitted to humans, and try to find the differences between dog and cat fleas.
How do dog fleas look like?
Like the rest of their squad, canine fleas go through four stages of the life cycle. All stages, except for adults, live outside the host: in carpets, crevices, animal litter.
Adult dog fleas are reddish brown in length, reach 2-4 mm. Of the three pairs of legs, the last powerful pair is hopping. The dog flea is wingless, the body is flattened laterally, covered with a hard-shiny exoskeleton, adapted for movement in the animal’s hair. The design of the oral apparatus is adapted for piercing the skin of the host and bloodsucking. The height of the jumps reaches 25 cm, the length is 40 cm.
How canine fleas breed?
Dog fleas lay eggs in the hair of animals, after which they spill out into the environment (about 60% of the laid eggs fall out during the first two hours). Flea eggs resemble chicken, only on a micro scale, oval in shape, milky white, size 0.2-0.5 mm.
The larval stage of a dog flea resembles an earthworm half a centimeter long, without legs, but with a wide mouth. Initially, the larva is white, but through the translucent walls of the body the intestines are visible, where the eaten feces of adult fleas (digested blood) enter, so that the nymph soon turns brown. When moving to the next stage, she weaves a whitish cocoon around herself and turns into a chrysalis. And an adult flea is already coming out of the cocoon.
Adult fleas are only the visible tip of the iceberg, 5% of the colony, which includes all 4 stages. Therefore, the fight against fleas, in addition to the destruction of biting adults, implies the destruction of larvae and eggs in the room.
Are dog fleas dangerous for humans?
Pet owners are afraid that canine fleas can be transferred to humans, and how dangerous their bites are.
These jumping bloodsuckers prefer to spend their lives on animals, but they also bite people. Newly made parasites ripened from cocoons in the carpets, driven by hunger, are looking for the owner, and the first person to get in the way. If a cat or dog sleeps with people, eggs fall on the bed, from which adults develop over time. This is to the question of whether dog fleas are transmitted to humans.
However, dog and cat fleas do not live on humans, they only bite. Even if a flea accidentally gets into her hair at night, it will not stay there for long. Human blood is not suitable for the multiplication of fleas, and smooth skin does not allow insects to stay on the body. Therefore, fleas parasitize primarily on animals.
Why dog fleas are dangerous?
This is why dog fleas are dangerous for people:
- They cause itching and allergies.
- Infectious diseases
- Severe infections can cause anaemia.
Itching occurs for two reasons:
- Flea dermatitis is a direct irritation from a bite on the skin
- Flea allergic dermatitis – allergy to insect saliva components
The reaction to a flea bite is individual. Not all people experience severe itching after a bite. However, people with flea allergic dermatitis complain of itching and suffer from the effects of prolonged combing of bite sites. At the site of the bite, a secondary infection penetrates the wound through the damaged skin.
Dog Flea Control Methods
To remove dog fleas in the apartment, the premises are disinfected simultaneously with the processing of pets. Adult fleas live on the body of animals, and immature stages on the floor, so an incomplete set of measures to destroy will give only a partial result, which is not enough.
Veterinary companies have developed various means of protecting animals from fleas. These include dog shampoo, flea drops, sprays, anti-flea collars. Folk remedies are also used, for example, vinegar baths and essential oils.
In addition, internal preparations – tablets (for example, “Comfortis”, “Capstar”) and injections save from fleas. Each product has its own advantages and disadvantages. Consult your veterinarian to find the right one.
How to get rid of dog fleas in the house?
- First, close the cracks in the floor to deprive the shelters of the larval stages.
- Pet accessories, as well as upholstery of upholstered furniture on which the pet is sleeping, treat with hot steam using a steam cleaner.
- Wash bedspreads and bedding in hot water.
- Treat the floor with a long-acting contact insecticide.
- Vacuum carpets and upholstered furniture daily – the vacuum cleaner gradually destroys the eggs, larvae and pupa of fleas.
- Remember that the flea population in a house is not displayed immediately. Success depends on systematic diligent efforts.