Few insects are as pesky as fleas. Fleas live on your pet, biting them and making them miserable. And when you have fleas in your home, they bite you and make you itch, too! Keeping fleas away requires close care and attention to detail. Sadly, there are some unfortunate myths that float around about fleas and your pets, and these myths may sabotage your flea prevention efforts. Here are a few such myths and the truth they are hiding.
Myth: Your pet does not need flea treatment if they do not go outside.
Many people who have indoor cats assume they don't need to give those cats flea repellent treatments. Sadly, these are the unassuming pet owners who often end up with surprise flea infestations. Even if your cat does not go outdoors, you may bring fleas or flea eggs indoors on your shoes, coat, or other items. It only takes a couple of adult fleas hitching a ride inside to start a full infestation. To keep your pets and home flea-free, always use monthly flea preventative medications under your vet's instruction—even if your cat never ventures outside.
Myth: If you feed your cats garlic, they won't get fleas.
There are a lot of people who swear by garlic for keeping the fleas and other pests away. But while this may work for horses and some other animals, it's a bad idea for dogs and cats. Whether or not the garlic works is beside the point. Garlic is not healthy for dogs or cats to consume. It puts stress on their kidneys and can lead to liver damage. Don't rely on garlic for flea prevention. If you prefer a natural approach over conventional flea meds, ask your vet to recommend a safe and reliable one.
Myth: Fleas are just an annoyance. They don't cause any real medical problems for pets.
This may be true in some cases. Certainly not every cat or dog who gets fleas ends up getting ill. However, flea infestations are more serious than you might assume. Fleas can spread tapeworms to cats, and cats infested with tapeworms are prone to weight loss and other health troubles. Since fleas feed on your pet's blood, they can also lead to anemia, which is a lack of red blood cells. Of course, they can also cause skin irritation and scabs, which make you pet miserable and uncomfortable.
For additional information and advice, contact a vet at an animal hospital like Northwest Animal Hospital.