Some quick facts about the itchy pests and how they relate to your canine companion.

Fleas are born on your dog. The eggs are laid on your dog, then roll off wherever your dog spends most of his time – your carpeting, your pet’s bed, your bed, your sofa and other areas you may or may not be aware of.

Over 95 percent of the flea population is immature, consisting of eggs, larvae and pupae. The problem arises when they mature into adult. That’s why it’s important to get them while they’re young. Adult fleas are ugly. They’re small, wingless, reddish-brown insects about 1/16th of an inch long and not very wide. Their hard outer shell makes them nearly crushproof. Covered with spikes, they stick in pets’ fur coats on contact.

All adult fleas do is feed and breed. They spend their brief lifetime feeding on your pet’s blood and reproducing like crazy. And female fleas are big producers – one female can lay as many as 25 eggs a day, adding up to hundreds in her several-week lifetime.

Fleas are big eaters. A female flea sucks up to 30 times her weight in blood per day and excretes six times her weight in flea baby food — blood-rich, nutrient-packed feces for flea larvae to feed on. Your pet carries and delivers these larval lunches throughout your house and yard.

Cat fleas are the most common, even on dogs. There are nearly 2,000 species of fleas, each with its own preferred host. When their favourite meal is not around, they’ll settle for another warm-blooded body, including yours. The cat flea attacks both cats and dogs. There are dog fleas but, curiously, they’re rarely found on dogs in Europe.

Some pets are secret carriers. Cats are notorious flea smugglers. Some can carry fleas without a scratch. Unfortunately, dogs aren’t so lucky. When dogs and cats share a household, they also share fleas. Treat them both.

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