Although you might not think it could happen to your pet, flea infestation is a common problem that can become a real nightmare if not properly treated and controlled.

When your pet plays outside, fleas can hop on to his skin and coat and basically “hitch a ride” into your home. Once your pet carries fleas into your home, that’s where the real trouble starts. The handful of fleas he picked up outside can start biting, causing him pain and distress, and then multiply quickly becoming hundreds of eggs in just a couple of days.

After they bite, the female flea lays eggs — up to 50 a day. As your pet runs and plays throughout the house, he basically becomes a “salt shaker” for the flea eggs, leaving them on floors, carpeting, and bedding, opening the door for continuous infestation. In as few as 12-14 days, these eggs can hatch and develop into new adult fleas, reinfesting your pet and your pet’s surroundings.

When it comes to protecting against flea infestation, prevention is key. Fortunately, flea prevention is now easier than ever before. To help protect your pet from fleas, use once-a-month topical treatments year-round, treat all pets within your household, and have your pet avoid contact with other pets who may have fleas.

If your pet already has fleas, it’s important to take him to the veterinary clinic and talk to your veterinarian about the different treatment options available.