Here's what you need to know about fleas on dogs and cats

Fleas are tiny insects. VERY tiny. If you lined up eight adult fleas end to end, they would fit inside an inch. It’s no wonder they’re hard to see and hard to detect in your home.

Look closely and you’ll see that adult fleas are reddish-brown in color with compressed, or flattened bodies. Fleas are wingless, but they have an incredible jumping ability. With an 8-inch vertical leap, fleas can easily hop from ground level to ambush your pet.

Fleas feed on blood, with female fleas consuming about 15 times their body weight each day.1 Fleas excrete partially digested blood, or flea dirt, which then serves as food for developing flea larvae. This flea dirt also provides veterinarians and pet owners a great way to identify an infestation.

Learn more about the flea life cycle

Pet Threats

Fleas can make your pet miserable. They can also pose a serious threat to his health, depending on his age and overall physical condition. Dangers include:

  • Severe Discomfort, including scratching, chewing, biting and restlessness.
  • Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD), a common veterinary dermatological condition.2
  • Anemia, especially in young or smaller pets, or in debilitated adult pets, as a result of severe infestations.
  • Transmission of a Tapeworm infection (D. caninum)

Human Threats

At risk of being bitten by newly emerging fleas, humans also face dangers from flea infestations in the home and surrounding areas. Some health issues can be serious, including:

  • Allergic reaction: Usually in the form of small, raised lesions called papules that can be red to purple in color. Severity will vary, depending on the degree of the allergy to the flea bite.3
  • Tapeworm (Dipylidium caninum): Generally spread through infected fleas found on both cats and dogs. Ingestion of infected fleas by children can result in a tapeworm infection.3
  • Typhus: A group of infectious diseases that may result in fever, headache, confusion and sometimes rashes. Two kinds of typhus contracted from flea bites include:4
    • Flea typhus – A type of typhus caused by Rickettsia felis. The cat flea is the only currently known vector for this bacteria.4
    • Murine typhus – Another bacterial form of typhus transmitted most commonly by rodent fleas but also by fleas found on pets.4
  • Plague: Rodent fleas that can be acquired by dogs and cats in some areas might be vectors for (carriers of) bubonic plague, Yersinia pestis. These fleas might leave the animal host to bite humans.3

Learn more about how Comfortis offers fast, month-long protection from fleas for your dog or cat.

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