(PET CARE) Fleas are not only irritating to people but to pets, as well. Once they get into your pet’s fur, they can bite and cause a slew of different problems including itching and inflammation.

In fact, a large percentage of all feline and canine skin problems reported by pet parents are caused by the animal’s hypersensitivity to flea bites–which is why flea prevention is not just necessary, it’s crucial!

What’s more, fleas are also known to cause diseases in pets. For instance, fleas are vectors for a bacteria called Bartonella, a common cause for cat scratch disease in felines and Bartonellosis in canines. Fleas can also serve as hosts for tapeworms and can pass the parasite to your pets.

With all of this in mind, check out these six important ways to keep fleas off your pet all year long.

Photo Credit: Cesar’s Way

Use Preventive Measures Year-Round

While fleas are more common in the summer (they thrive in temperatures of 65 degrees to 85 degrees Fahrenheit), some can also survive indoors during the colder months.

There are many pet flea products you can choose from, but you should still check with your vet prior to use. Sometimes even the best flea collar for dogs or cats or pet flea medicine might not be the most effective way to treat your pet’s particular type of flea problem. Also make sure to carefully read and follow the instructions listed on the packaging of the product you decide to use.

Groom Your Pet Regularly

Not only does grooming improve your relationship with your pet, but it also helps you monitor your pet’s skin condition. Therefore, make a habit of grooming your pet regularly and keep an eye out for any skin problems that might indicate a flea infestation.

If you notice extra shedding, unusual red patches, or small, brownish or black speaks on the skin of your furry friend, there’s a good chance your pet might have fleas.

Keep Your Home and Yard Clean

In addition to keeping your house well-maintained and clean, it’s important to keep your yard tidy as well. Since fleas prefer moist, warm, sheltered places with organic debris where they can hide and breed, make sure that you mow your lawn often and remove all fallen leaves and unkempt shrubbery form your backyard.

Clean Your Pet Accessories

You should also clean your pet’s accessories at least once a week. Use warm, soapy water to scrub you pet’s carrier and cage. And wash your pet’s bedding and toys, especially those made of fabric and soft materials with hot water. Having a pet bed with removable and machine-washable cushions and at least two extra bed covers will make this process much easier.

Vacuum Your Home Often

Fleas prefer to hide and breed in rugs and carpets, so it’s crucial to vacuum your house as much as possible. But if fleas have been spotted on your pet or around your home, it’s necessary to vacuum at least once a day.

Be sure to vacuum those hard-to-reach places, like under furniture, in-between couch cushions, and anywhere else your pet might spend their time. This will help you get rid of fleas in the flooring as well as in other textiles before they get a chance to lay eggs and/or infest your pet’s fur.

Photo Credit: PetMD

Check Regularly for Fleas

Last but not least, conduct regular flea checks on both your pet and throughout your whole house. If you do see signs of fleas, start using flea control immediately. The sooner you get the flea problem under control, the lesser the chance fleas will have to infect your pet with one of the many dangerous diseases they carry.

Bottom Line

When it comes to fleas, prevention is key, regular checks are imperative, and timing is everything. So learn about the dangers that fleas pose to your pet, know how to recognize the signs of fleas, and how to prevent a flea infestation.

— Karen Thompson, exclusive to Global Animal

Karen Thompson is the lead editor of InsectCop.net, an independent pest control advice blog that aims to advise people on how they can get rid of pests in and around their homes and help their pets stay pest-free as well.