Pet owners In denial: The truth about fleas you may be ignoring

In denial: The unfortunate truth about fleas you may be ignoring

Alright, pet parents- are you ready to hate me? Because I’m about to tell you something that I have told many pet parents in the past and to my surprise, it almost always elicits a furious or begrudging reaction. I’m about to talk about fleas right now so grab your pitchforks and torches.

It's happened to me so many times. Good-hearted, loving pet parents with only the best intentions for their pets making statements like “my cat has never had fleas in her life and my neighbor's cat has been around the yard and NOW she has fleas!” or “my dog has NEVER had fleas until I brought her to my friend's place!” My dog has fleas! My cat has fleas! How did my pet get fleas?

In denial: The truth about fleas you may be ignoring

The sad truth is when pet parents come to me looking for advice about fleas they're often more concerned with how their pet got fleas than what to do about the flea infestation. That’s okay- how your pet got fleas is a good question to want an answer for. However many pet parents aren’t looking for answers in the right place.

When a pet parent comes to me with concerns of fleas my first question is always the same- regardless of any habitat changes or introductions to new pets. “What are you using as a monthly flea preventative and when was the last time you dosed your pet?”

In denial: The truth about fleas you may be ignoring

I’m going to tell a truth you may not want to hear. If you are not using a monthly flea preventative- especially during peak flea season- you are sending your pet on the front lines without a weapon. Meaning it's highly likely your pet will get fleas at some point. If you have never used a monthly preventive for fleas and your pet has never had fleas do you know what you are? LUCKY! 

Another startling truth I'm going to tell that may make my readers ears steam is this: one common way a pet contracts fleas is from people bringing fleas into the home. Yes, WE can accidentally carry these vermin into our homes to feast on our “indoor-only cat.” Although humans don’t make a good meal for fleas we are ideal for hitching a ride. 

Fleas don't exclusively come from another pet or new habitat. Any pet that goes outside without flea prevention is at risk. Fleas are just as likely to hitch a ride on our shoes and clothes to get to a new host as they are to jump from one pet to another. They're bugs. If a fly or mosquito can get into your home, so can a flea.

Your pet does not need to come into direct contact with a flea-ridden pet to get fleas. Fleas do not discriminate and select only certain back yards, if the climate is right they will live anywhere. Fleas LOVE living inside your home! Fleas are tiny and can hitchhike on clothes, shoes, and other objects that come into the home from outside. Fleas can jump pretty high! 

In denial: The truth about fleas you may be ignoring

Here's a fun fact that may make you hate me a little less. I was just like the millions of pet parents across the world. I had no clue that my indoor-only cat could get fleas if I never let her outside and never had any outdoor animals in my home. I was one of the loving, caring pet parents who wasn’t trying to do my pet harm- I just didn’t know any better. 

After years of working in veterinary medicine, I've learned a lot about parasites. Now that I know the risks, I use a monthly preventative for all of my pets. But back then, it was a shock and I too vilified every place and person's pet that could have potentially 'gave my cat fleas.' When I was told the same thing I just told you by my veterinarian, I was surprised. But I accepted the truth and now I live flea-free!

I hope I have not angered you too much with my truth-telling statements because my only purpose is to educate about fleas and encourage loving pet parents to talk to their veterinarian about monthly flea preventatives. Your vet can tell you which flea prevention is right for your pet's lifestyle. If your pet steps outside, it's at risk of getting fleas. If you have an indoor-only pet, then your pet is at a low risk of getting fleas- not NO risk. When it comes to your pet's health, why take the risk?

In denial: The truth about fleas you may be ignoring

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In denial: The truth about fleas you may be ignoring

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