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What causes a flea infestation?

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Quick Answer

A flea infestation is often caused by fleas hopping onto a pet's fur from either another animal or infested dirt or grass. The fleas are looking for a host and typically stay with or close to the host. Infestations may occur when a pet is not properly treated for fleas; the parasites tend to cluster in a pet's underbelly.

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Flea infestations also occur in a pet's home, as the fleas can be transferred to the carpet, bedding and household furnishings. Fleas can also mate and lay eggs in these areas or on the pet, which can increase the number of fleas in the infestation. In addition, fleas thrive in warm and moist environments, so pets that live in hot and humid areas are more likely to have a flea infestation than those in cold environments. Fleas must find a host within one to two weeks; otherwise, they die due to a lack of nourishment.

Signs of a flea infestation can include a pet that is excessively scratching, licking or biting itself. Scabs or a loss of fur can also be a sign of a flea infestation. Eliminate fleas by thoroughly cleaning the home and using a preventative recommended by a vet.

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