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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – North Texas has had a very warm winter and a wet spring, unfortunately that means your dog or cat will have a price to pay. Humid, warm conditions are the perfect weather for fleas to thrive.

Just like ticks, fleas feed off of your pet’s blood. In addition to causing itching, skin infections and possible edema to your pets, fleas can also spread disease.

Molly Keck, an Integrated Pest Management Program Specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, says over-the-counter poisons may not be your best defense. “You can really never kill the egg or the pupa form of the flea. So, when you treat, about 10 to 14 days later, you’re killing the eggs that have now become larvae.”

There is a lot you have to contend with when it comes to fighting fleas. There’s your actual pet, other animals, the outdoors and inside your house. In addition to traveling on pets or clothing, fleas can easily get inside homes through small openings or holes in screens or doorways.

A Yorkshire Terrier. credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

A Yorkshire Terrier. credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Keck had some simple advice for keeping your home ‘bite free.’ “There have been multiple studies that have found that [by] just vacuuming up the carpets, the rugs, the fabric couches; wherever the pet are resting and it’s soft, not concrete floors or wood floors necessarily, you can reduce the flea population by 80-percent or more.”

Owners should also inspect their pets for signs of fleas or their eggs. Flea droppings, which look like small white dots, or dark brown or black specks no bigger than a sesame seed that are clumped together on the fur, are usually easily identified after using a flea comb. And no it’s not a myth, fleas can jump very fast and vary high.

Keck says the key is to kill fleas as they hatch. Veterinarians say consistently is the key and it’s probably better to just treat your pets for fleas, ticks and heartworms year round.

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