The Dangers of Having Fleas Around

Looking at fleas, they do not seem to be such a threat.  After all, they are just tiny insects.  Fleas are often seen as just a nuisance and would just be simply brushed off. Fleas on dogs, on the other hand, are treated once they are discovered by their owners, undermining their damaging effects.  Lately, homeowners prefer homemade remedies for fleas on dogs, rather than the chemical ones that could be dangerous to your family and pets.

Usually, fleas only simply cause discomfort because of their bites; their bites are very itchy.  These bites do tend to heal on their own without any intervention. One thing that people overlook is that fleas are carriers of disease for both pets and humans.  Fleas are known to be vectors of pathogens and parasites, which puts them in the category of the other dangerous pets like mosquitoes, cockroaches, and rats.

If you suspect that your dog has fleas, chances are you already have a flea infestation problem. The best solution, therefore, would be to call a pest control for fleas in Greensboro to help you get rid of fleas. 

Overview of fleas

Before we move on, let us briefly describe fleas.  Fleas are tiny, blood-sucking bugs, about the size of a head of a pin.  There are around 2,500 species of them all throughout the world. These parasites have reddish-brown bodies that grow about 0.12 inch to ⅙  inch long and are flattened sideways. This comes in handy for navigating their hosts since they prefer hairy hosts. They have long claws which they use to latch onto the skin of their hosts.  They also have piercing mouthparts to allow them to feed, and they have simple eyespots with one biconvex lens. Some species of fleas do not even have eyes. 

Fleas as vectors

Fleas can pass on an alarming number of diseases to pets and humans.  This is because they are hosts to pathogens, therefore they are the perfect transmitter of diseases.  

Fleas transfer pathogens in two ways.  One is by the oral route. This is done by regurgitation of blood meal.  Another is through the fecal route by contaminated fecal pellets.  

Among the diseases that fleas are known to transmit are the plague, murine typhus, tungiasis and tularemia. Here are further diseases.

Diseases fleas spread

  1. The Bubonic plague – Fleas, not rats, were the cause of the spread of the Bubonic plague that ravaged the whole world of its population during the Middle Ages.  Also known as the “Black Death’, it killed around 25 million people, or half of Europe’s population at the time. This disease exists until this day, but advances in the field of medicine make it rare nowadays.  Patients develop fever, chills, weakness, headache, and swollen lymph nodes. This results from an infected flea bite. The bacteria can spread into the other parts of the body if not treated with the right antibiotics.
  2. Murine typhus – Most cases of Murine Typhus occur in rat-infested areas, where the fleas become infected by the rats.  Symptoms of this disease include high fever, chills, severe headache, nausea, and weakness. Fortunately, treatment is available and is easy to resolve.
  3. Tungiansis – This disease is transmitted by the sand flea, which is also known by the name burrowing flea, or chigger flea.  This usually affects the feet, because there the sand flea attaches itself and burrows into the skin. Cases of this disease are rare in the United States, but due to increased travel to tropical regions such as the Caribbean, Central America, and the West Indies, cases have increased.  Wear shoes instead of sandals when walking in sandy areas in these affected regions. The signs and symptoms would depend on how the bacteria enter the body. In an ulceroglandular tularemia, there is a high fever, skin ulcer at the site where the bacteria entered the body, and swelling of the regional lymph glands.  Glandular tularemia features the same signs and symptoms.  Another form of tularemia, the pneumonic tularemia, is the most dangerous of all.  Symptoms are difficulty in breathing, chest pains, and cough.
  4. Tularemia – This is a potentially serious illness that is common in North America. It can be transferred to humans through flea or tick bites.  Symptoms include sudden fever, joint pain, chills, gradual weakness, and diarrhea. When you suspect that you have tularemia, seek professional care so that treatment can be administered.  

How to find fleas on dogs 

If you are looking for fleas on your pet dog, look for them at the hairy parts, on the belly, and their inner thighs.  

Check for the presence of flea faeces.  These look like dark specks of pepper which are scattered all over the dog’s skin.  These things are actually digested blood that the fleas feed on. To check, get a paper towel and pick them off.  Wait for a few minutes. If these specks spread out like bloodstains, then your dog has fleas. You may also look for them around the house.  They are usually on the carpets because somehow simulates the furry skin of dogs and cats. While they are on the carpet, they just wait and lay in ambush for the next host.  They also find indoor plants are also inviting and cozy. Here, they can stay and hide uninterrupted. Lastly, look for them in places where your dog frequents. 

Home remedies for fleas

Because fleas are dangerous to our family’s and our pet’s health, it is best to get rid of them as soon as we can.  The best way to do this is to use home remedies instead of chemical ones for safety reasons. The best thing is, these home remedies are just as effective.

  • Use a powerful vacuum on your carpets, furniture, and even on your pet’s bed.  Be sure to dispose of the vacuum’s bag properly afterwards.  
  • Sprinkle diatomaceous earth on the above-mentioned areas.  Since diatomaceous earth is safe, you may apply some on your pet’s body.  When fleas crawl on these, it will cause them to dehydrate and die.  
  • Sprinkle table salt throughout the house.  This will effectively kill the fleas. Leave it as is for a few hours.  After that, vacuum the areas where you put the table salt. Do this until the fleas are gone.