Fleas feed on the blood of birds, humans, reptiles and domestic and wild animals. Bloodmeals see them through their four distinct life stages as an egg, larva, pupa and, finally, a biting adult. According to PetMD, a single female flea can consume 15 times her body weight in blood every day, and she can lay 2,000 eggs over the course of her lifetime. In addition, a flea can last for more than 100 days without consuming a meal of blood.
Of the more than 2,000 flea species and subspecies of fleas that are currently known, a single species of flea – the cat flea – makes up the bulk of cat and dog flea infestations found in the United States. Pets with fleas can encounter a number of health problems including tapeworms, anemia, and extreme cases of itching which are known as pruritus. Some dogs and cats develop an allergy to the saliva of fleas, which can lead to intense irritation and severe itchiness. Extreme cases can lead to open sores, infection and more conditions requiring veterinary care.
If a flea infestation becomes bad enough, it could begin to affect your daily life and can turn your home into a miserable living space. That makes it especially important to inspect and identify fleas before attempting to treat them so the infestation from worsening or coming back.