Cats Dog portrait in the snow

Published on November 12th, 2012 | by Debbie Martin


Fleas and the colder months

Summer is over and Autumn is here and Winter is just around the corner, its a time for wrapping up warm against the colder days and turning on the central heating.

 We all enjoy a warm home (as do our pets), but so do fleas. Traditionally, fleas were a summer problem, but the warmth and humidity of our centrally heated homes are ideal for fleas to prosper. In such conditions the life cycle can be as short as 3-4 weeks, potentially allowing the flea population to quickly get out of hand.

 The adult fleas we may see on our pets are only a small proportion (5%) of the total flea population enjoying the warmth in your home. The rest are very difficult to see, as eggs, larvae and pupae. These parts of the life cycle like to nestle deep down in cracks, crevices and the base of carpets, soft furnishings and bedding.

 We need to keep this population in the house in check as the adult flea bites can irritate our pets (and us), especially if the pet is allergic to flea bites, and they can carry a tapeworm. To be effective all the pets in the house need to be treated for fleas and gastrointestinal worms throughout the year, as well as using an insecticide in the house itself annually.

 This can be achieved by applying spot on flea treatment containing Fipronil directly on to your pet’s skin at the back of the neck monthly, and treating your house with a household flea spray. Spot on treatments containing Fipronil will kill the adults on your pet within 48 hours. Household flea sprays will kill adults in the house within 24 hours, as well as prevent eggs laid developing into adult fleas. The pupae are harder to deal with as the pupa is designed to protect the developing adult flea. However, we can trick the pupa into thinking an animal is nearby, which stimulates the adult flea to hatch from the pupa and come into contact with the insecticide.  The vibration from a vacuum cleaner is ideal for this, hence the advice to vacuum regularly after spraying with a household spray. Adult fleas can continue to hatch for 5 weeks, so don’t be alarmed if you still see adults up to this point. Regular washing of pet bedding is also beneficial. For a great range of products visit our website.

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About the Author

Debbie Martin has worked at Beeston Animal Health for over five years, having previously worked as a nurse in equine and small animal practice. Although generally involved with aspects of marketing these days and putting her psychology degree to good use, she still has a great depth of up to date knowledge in all creatures great and small. Debbie lives at home with her partner and two children and spends much of her spare time looking after her horses, dogs and cats or at the home farm with the cows, sheep and turkeys.

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