Pet health tips and resources


Protect dogs from fleas

Fleas are excellent jumpers, leaping vertically up to 7  inches and horizontally up to 13 inches. At Doggie Paws, we use a  nontoxic shampoo that kills fleas yet is safe for pets.  

Adult fleas are about 1/16 to 1/8 inch in length,  dark reddish-brown in color, wingless, hardbodied, and difficult to  crush between your fingers. 

Stages of flea development

 Fleas go through 3 stages before they become adults  (egg, larva, and pupa). It can take from 30 days to 1 year to complete  this cycle. The immature stages are most commonly found in areas where  the host animal rests and visits frequently.  

Although eggs are laid on the animal, they fall off and  land on surfaces like carpets, furniture, pet bedding, car seats, etc.  Larvae emerge from the eggs and feed on organic debris and adult flea  feces on carpet and other surfaces.  

Stages of flea development

The adult flea is the only stage routinely found on the  animal. Adult fleas live 7 – 10 days. The average female flea will lay  150 eggs. After mating and feeding, adult female fleas lay oval, white  eggs. These smooth eggs easily fall from the host into cracks, crevices,  carpet, bedding, or lawn covering. A mature female flea can lay up to  25 eggs per day for 3 weeks. 

Small, worm-like larvae (1 / 16 to 3 / 16 inches in  length) hatch within 48 hours. The larval body is translucent white with  a dark-colored gut that can be seen through the skin. They feed on  adult flea feces, consisting of relatively undigested blood, which dries  and falls from the host’s fur. They also eat dandruff, skin flakes, and  grain particles.  

Larvae develop on the ground in areas protected from  rainfall, irrigation, and sunlight, where the relative humidity is at  least 70% and the temperature is 70° – 90° Fahrenheit. This stage lasts 8  to 24 days, depending on temperature and humidity conditions.  

These immature fleas will eventually spin silken  cocoons in which they will develop (pupate) into adult fleas. Cocoons  are sticky and attract dirt and debris that act as camouflage. Under  ideal conditions, new adults are ready to emerge from pupal cocoons  within 2 weeks. However, they can remain cocooned up to 12 months in the  absence of a host or under unfavorable climatic conditions. 

Adult fleas are a nuisance. They cause medical problems  like flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), tapeworms, secondary skin  irritations and, in extreme cases, anemia. Although bites are rarely  felt, the flea’s salivary secretions can cause irritations. 

The typical reaction to the bite is the formation of a  small, hard, red, swollen, itching spot. There is a single puncture  point in the center of each spot. Ants and spiders leave two marks when  they bite. Mosquitoes, bees, wasps, and bedbugs cause a large swelling  or welt. 

Dog friendly activities

Keep your dog healthy and active with trips to Norman F. Kruse Dog Park. 

Located at W. Sherman and Beach Streets in Muskegon,  other park amenities include 2 parking lots, nature trails, a barrier dune, accessible dune walkways, a playground, dune overlooks, picnic  shelters, restrooms, and a basketball court.