After eating and sleeping, scratching itself is probably your dog or cat's favorite activity. It's so common that we hardly pay attention to it, but in summer it could be an indication of something more serious - a flea infestation.
Certainly your pet deserves attention as soon as possible to relieve it of discomfort and the possibility of infections from excessive scratching. But although fleas prefer feeding on animals, these blood-sucking insects also nip at humans, causing itchiness that you may scratch until small welts bleed. Humans' allergic reactions to flea bites usually result in hives and rashes.
An easy way to see if your pets' flea problem has infiltrated your home is to put on a pair of white socks and dig your feet into carpeting where your pets usually lie. Fleas can lay anywhere from 20 to 30 eggs in a day, and they'll fall off your pets and hide in carpets and other fabrics. If there's an infestation, the insects will jump onto the socks where they'll be very visible. That will let you know it's time to take pest control measures.
Time to take action
Fleas can carry many diseases that may be transferred to your pets if they're bitten. They also contribute to cat scratch disease, which is an illness your cat can pass on to you. While it's not common, the disease is most frequently passed on by kittens whose claws spread bacteria that come from flea droppings.
For these health reasons, both animal and human, it's a good idea to call a professional pest control service like Abell Pest Control to treat your home as well as outdoor areas where fleas and ticks thrive in summer. They can recommend ways to prevent the problem from happening again.
Beyond the obvious comfort of your animals, excessive scratching can cause your pets to develop a flea allergy or dermatitis, which leads them to bite and scratch so much that their skin becomes inflamed and could become infected. If they don't have an allergic reaction, the biting could continue unnoticed until flea anemia occurs. In kittens and senior cats, this is particularly serious because they may not be able to groom themselves well enough to prevent the flea biting from escalating.
At the first sign that your pets are scratching, licking or biting their fur and skin more than usual - or if you feel stinging bites at your ankles or feet - it's time to begin full-scale home pest control.