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It's flea season

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By Jeff Wooldridge

With the warmer temperatures that we have been experiencing, we are starting to see signs of fleas here at the shelter. On the dogs and cats that have been surrendered or picked up as strays, we are starting to see the first fleas of the season. I was hoping that with the cold temperatures that maybe we would see a decrease in the numbers of fleas and ticks. It's still way too early to tell but maybe the problem won't be as bad as it was last year.

This week's article will concentrate on flea control and listed below are 10 facts about fleas you may not know.

1. One single flea can produce hundreds of offspring in her lifespan.

2. The average flea lives for only six weeks but can live up to a year if the conditions are right.

3. A flea can live for more than a year without feeding inside its cocoon.

4. Fleas can jump over 6 feet.  No wonder they find it so easy to hitch a ride into a house on you or your pet.

5. Fleas don't actually spend much of their life span on your pet. Most of it is spent in your carpet and furniture.

6. Fleas are the leading cause of Tapeworms in pets.

7. Fleas have a four-stage lifecycle, if you don't break that lifecycle, you'll never be rid of all the fleas.

8. Only five percent of the fleas in your home are adults.  That leaves 95 percent of a flea problem as eggs and larvae, waiting to develop and hatch once the adults are gone. You still have a big flea problem.

9. You can win the war on fleas by treating your pet, your home and your yard at the same time.

10. Flea prevention is a whole lot easier than fighting a war with millions of enemy fleas.

Not all flea products work to break the flea's lifecycle. You need to use a combination of products to completely win the war with fleas.

Flea shampoos work to kill adult fleas and sooth your pet's skin from the irritation of scratching.  Premise treatments and sprays work to kill the flea eggs and larva in your pets bedding, in your furniture and in your yard. If you don't kill the fleas in the yard, new ones will hitch a ride inside on your shoes. Flea treatment products that you place on your dog work to kill fleas, larva and flea eggs on your pet.

If you do have a flea problem, talk to your veterinarian about what treatment plan is best for you and your pet. A feed store or farm supply store will also be a good place for help with flea control.

That's all for this week. Give your pets a hug for their unconditional love for you. For anyone looking for a new pet, check out our great selection here at the Marion County Animal Shelter. Put a little love in your life, adopt a pet from us.

Editors' note: Jeff Wooldridge is the Marion County animal control officer.