The Difference Between Dog and Cat Fleas

Dog fleas are most common in Europe, although in rare cases, they appear in North America, as well. They are external parasites, living by hematophagy off the blood of dogs. Dog fleas are very small parasites which live on the blood of animals and can be found living predominantly on dogs, cats and birds as well as in the environment. Both cat and dog fleas are carriers of the common tapeworm parasite, which affects both dogs and cats. Dog fleas are the most common parasite your canine friend can come into contact with.

The dog fleas are also known as the Ctenocephalides canis and are very rare in the US, but spread in Europe. Although human fleas can sometimes be infected with tapeworm, dog fleas are almost always infected with them. They are an all year problem. Adult cat and dog fleas can live up to one year in ideal situations, but only about one to two weeks if no host is present.

While uncommon, dog fleas can still bite humans and potentially cause allergic reactions or even spread disease. They can also pose health risks for your family. Dog fleas can also transfer other diseases such as Lyme disease and Ehrlichia.

A lot of people are not aware that dog and cat fleas are different types of fleas.  Let me explain.

To make matters a bit more confusing, cat fleas, the species Ctenocephalides felis are the common flea found in North America, and Ctenocephalides canis, or dog fleas are more common in Europe. Cat and dog fleas are commonly blamed for sand flea bites from small biting flies found in coastal areas.

While we used the name flea as a catch-all title, there are actually numerous different flea species, and some of them are species-specific when it comes to the types of animal that they will feed from-which means that cat fleas are highly unlikely to bite people, even if your cat is lousy with them, and being bitten to distraction themselves! Cat fleas are raised in a very similar manner, but the adults are fed on dogs. They are more abundant than any other type of flea, and they do not just take up residence on felines. Cat fleas are dark brown and approximately 1-2mm long. Female cat fleas can lay 20 to 50 eggs per day, which hatch in 2 to 5 days. They can also be treated orally through tablets and liquids which are absorbed by the cat and then kill or sterilise fleas when they bite. Importantly cat fleas can also bite people so its not just your furry friend that will be bothered by them.

Cat fleas can carry or transmit various organisms, such as Yersinia pestis, which causes bubonic plague; Rickettsia typhi, which causes murine typhus; and Dipylidium caninum, the double-pored dog tapeworm, which can live in dogs, cats, or humans. Though cat fleas can act as vectors for disease, action is usually taken due to the great annoyance caused by the itching and biting of the fleas, rather than for health purposes. They can be found on wild animals or pets in favorable temperatures and humidity and therefore can be a continuous problem. Cat fleas can take up residence in your carpets, floorboards or furniture, hiding out of sight until your cat walks by and they can hop on for their next meal.

I hope you found this article educational and are more aware of the different types of fleas than can potentially harm you, your dog, and your cat.

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