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Fleas can drink up to 15 times their own weight in blood per day, so a heavy flea infestation can lead to iron deficiency and anaemia. Symptoms include pale gums, appearing tired, weak, or listless, faster-than-normal pulse, lack of appetite, weight loss and eating dirt.
The entire cycle, from egg to adult flea, is complete in 12 – 22 days when temperature and humidity conditions are ideal, but more commonly takes 3 – 4 weeks and that's enough.