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The Ruff Report: Dogs and Health


You, your dog may be sleeping with thousands of fleas

That itch you get while sleeping is likely to be more than just the dog's tail rubbing against your leg; the sensation may be from thousands of fleas that have infested the bed or couch if your pet likes to snuggle with you.

Research shows that fleas flourish in comfy places, making your bed and the dog's sleeping area fertile breeding grounds, according to PDSA, a veterinary charity in Britain. 

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“Fleas thrive in a warm environment, and their larvae feed off debris such as pet dandruff and adult flea feces, making your pet’s bed the perfect breeding ground," Sean Wensleya veterinarian with PDSA, states in a media release. "If your dog or cat sleeps on your bed, then that’s one of the places where the fleas will thrive.”PDSA estimates that some pet beds could contain hundreds of flea eggs at any one time. Fleas can jump about 8 inches high and three feet in distance so within weeks a home can become infested.

“Under favorable conditions a single flea can give rise to a population of 20,000 in just two months because of the rapid rate at which they reproduce,” Dr. Wensleya said.

The keys to preventing and ridding a pet's bed of fleas are keeping the sleeping area clean and using a flea product, Dr. Wensleya said.

But pet parents must be careful when using flea products, Dr. Wensleya said. A dog flea treatment used on a cat or applying more than the recommended dosage can cause fatal poisoning.
“Owners need to use a safe and effective flea treatment product on their pets” said Dr. Wensleya, who advises consulting a veterinary before apply a flea medication. “It is essential that owners regularly use the correct flea treatments in the right manner.”
Dr. Wensleya says flea products bought over-the-counter, from pet shops or supermarkets may be unsafe and less effective than those prescribed by a veterinarian.

Cleanliness also is essential for controlling fleas, so pet parents should regularly wash and vacuum their dog’s bedding and living areas to prevent fleas, flea eggs and larvae from thriving, Dr. Wensleya said. "Your pet’s bed should be washed at least weekly in hot water to ensure all stages of the flea life cycle are destroyed.”
PSDA offers these tips to help control fleas:
  • Wash your dog's or cat’s bed once a week in a 60-degree wash to destroy any flea eggs.
  • Vacuum to remove pet dandruff and dirt from a pet’s bedding, making it harder for the flea larvae to survive.
  • Choose veterinary bedding, which is made of synthetic fur-type material on a woven base. This can be machine-washed and is stay-dry so any moisture will disappear.
More reports about dogs and flea, tick and insect control:
Pet deaths prompt tougher EPA rules for flea, tick items
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  • Have two beds for your pet. When one is being washed, the other can be used, making the cleaning process easier.
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