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Flea Control and Your Chihuahua

Flea Control and Your Chihuahua

Flea Life Cycle

Fleas are horrible pests which cause misery and itching to any animal unfortunate enough to play host. 

Your Chihuahua, you, and your home can end up being the unwitting host of these uninvited guests.  Once you see adult fleas the problem is often well established.  One statistic states that 95% of the flea problem lives in the home environment at various life cycle stages and that only 5% of the flea population in your home is seen as an adult hopping flea.

Adult fleas lay up to fifty eggs per day and can live several months.  These eggs fall of your Chi and end up in your carpet or bedding.  The eggs can hatch out in two days or take a few weeks.  Now the flea is at the larval stage which lasts anywhere from five days to several weeks.  The next stage is the pupa.

The pupa stage is what gives fleas their staying power in your home.  Adults can emerge from this stage within a matter of days, or the pupa can remain dormant for a year or more waiting for the right conditions to hatch. 

If your Chi had a flea problem last summer and your think you got it under control, don’t be surprised if that isn’t the case.  Many owners have been blindsided by the emergence of adults months later when the temperature and humidity reached ideal conditions.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD) affects a small number of dogs but its effect is extremely noticeable.  If your Chihuahua has FAD, flea season is miserable.  Your poor Chi is so itchy and miserable that often anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids are needed to calm the severe skin irritation that results from flea bites.  Bald patches, crusty and oozing sores and leathery looking skin are some of the outward signs of FAD.

If your Chi has FAD using year round flea control is very important.  Don’t want until you see a flea before you treat your pet.  Treat monthly all year round to prevent infestation.

Flea Control Products

There are numerous flea control products on the market – some for your Chi and some for your home.  Pet stores sell flea products that include topical liquids, pills, shampoos, dips, and collars.  Some owners have success with these products but if you find that your Chi is still being bitten it’s time to move to a veterinary product.

Adulticides aimed at killing adult fleas come in topical liquids and pills.  Some claim to kill the adult flea before it has time to lay eggs and this may be true.  Don’t believe claims that a product kills a flea before it has time to feed.  Most fleas feed within seconds to minutes of jumping on your pet and no product can guarantee to act that quickly.

Other products on the market are aimed at interrupting the flea life cycle by preventing the adult flea from laying viable eggs.  The adult flea still lives its merry, little life of weeks or months but never manages to reproduce properly.  This prevents infestation but is little help to your Chi if they have FAD.

There are also instant kill tablets available that start killing adult fleas in fifteen minutes.  These pills are great to use when you are starting another product and waiting for it to take effect.  These instant kill tablets start working quickly but only work for about 24-48 hours.

Part of the appeal of Chihuahuas is the bond they develop with their owner.  This emotional closeness also results in physical closeness.  There is a lot of hugging and snuggling going on.  This very closeness is what makes fleas such a problem for Chi owners.

If your Chi has picked up a flea, chances are you will be bitten too.  If your Chi sleeps in your bed, then your bed could be playing unwitting host to numerous stages of fleas.  It’s enough to make your shiver and itch.

Fleas don’t discriminate.  They don’t care if your pet has the best Chihuahua clothes on the block, nor if your little one is a short haired or long haired Chihuahua.  Fleas are looking for a blood meal and your Chi (and you!) are good enough to eat.  Protect yourself and your pooch by using flea control products year round.


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