Fleas aren’t just your dog’s worst nightmare; they can be yours, too. To stop this common parasite, it’s important to understand a little bit about how they operate.

The adult fleas on your dog represent only 5% of the total flea population around him or her. The other 95% can’t be seen. Fleas exist in various stages of development — as eggs, larvae, or pupae. All can exist in your carpet, couch, bedding, and anywhere else your dog walks or lies down. The complete flea life cycle lasts between two weeks to almost 170 days; however, the average life cycle is about 21 days.

Eggs

  • Fleas lay eggs within 24 hours after feeding.
  • Flea eggs are not sticky, so they fall off the pet and scatter like BBs.
  • Eggs hatch as larvae within one to six days.

Larvae

  • Larvae can travel up to 18 inches in carpet.
  • Larvae move away from light, deep into carpets and cracks in flooring where they feed.
  • On average, larvae live up to 12 days.

Pupae

  • Pupae can survive many types of flea treatments.
  • Pupae may remain dormant four to six months, but sometimes up to a year.

Adult Fleas

  • Adult fleas live on your pet; they do not jump from pet to pet or pet to human.
  • A single adult female flea can lay up to 1200 offspring in one month and can lay up to 2000 eggs in her lifetime (up to 170 days).

And the cycle begins again!

Keep in mind that not all flea products are effective against ticks.  It’s important that you talk to your veterinarian to see which product is right for your dog.

REFERENCE: Dryden, M.W., The cat flea: biology, ecology and control. Vet parasitology. 1994; 52:1-19.

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