Drought Brings The Itch

Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - 9:36am

Dry weather triggers increase in fleas.

The extreme heat in some areas of the country is also causing some serious problems for pets.

Experts say the combination of heat and severe drought is proving to be a breeding ground for fleas.

"Temperature's a tremendous trigger, and when it starts getting warm those flea populations starts growing," explains environmental health expert Brenda Elrod.

Experts say the fleas will first search for a food supply, and your pet makes for the perfect hiding place.

"Dryness is going to drive them to more central points, it's going to drive the animals to water sources, so squirrels in your backyard, dogs in your backyard, they're going to be looking at those fellas to feed off of," Elrod says.

Like other pesky insects, fleas need to feed on blood to survive and thrive.

"They bite the dog and get a blood meal, just like mosquitos and tics, they can't reproduce without getting that blood meal," explains veterinarian Dr. Sharon Phillips.

They can bite your animal 200 to 300 times per day.

Killing the problem at the source than can be complicated.

Vets say pets will act like a "flea factory" during hot weather.

That's why treatment is key, even for your own health.

"They would love to bite on you just as much as they would bite on a dog," Elrod warns.

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