Pet Advice tick and flea prevention

Published on May 15th, 2017 | by Debbie Martin

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How do you prepare for the summer flea season?

It’s that time of year again, flea season is approaching, however after yet another unseasonably warm winter experts are warning about the severity of flea infestations this summer. So how do you prepare for the summer flea season and keep these pesky parasites at bay?

  1. Treat regularly

 One pipette of flea treatment such as Frontline, only lasts for 4-6 weeks depending on your pet, how often they are bathed etc. To provide year round protection it is advisable to apply treatment regularly as advised by the manufacturer.

 Once all signs of fleas have abated many owners choose to stop treatments, why treat something that isn’t there? However, figures show that the cost of preventing a flea infestation is much cheaper than the cost of treating a flea infestation, particularly a severe one.

Fleas can cause a number of problems including, Intense itching and scratching resulting in hair loss, Flea Allergy Dermatitis a very common and unpleasant skin condition caused by an allergy to flea saliva and even Tapeworm infestation. All of these symptoms can leave you with a rather hefty vets bill in addition to causing your pet and yourself pain and discomfort (that’s right – fleas don’t discriminate; they will bite humans!).

  1. Treat ALL animals in the home

If all susceptible animals (this includes dogs, cats, ferrets and rabbits) in the house are not treated for fleas at the same time, the opportunity arises for a flea infestation to take hold and turn into a vicious cycle. Although Frontline is only available for cats and dogs, other products can be sourced from your vet that are suitable for rabbits and ferrets.

  1. Understand the Flea Life Cycle

Flea LifecycleUnfortunately for us pet owners, the flea has evolved to be a rather clever little parasite. Although we are armed with an arsenal of excellent flea fighting products such as Frontline, no one product kills all stages of the flea life cycle. It requires a little more understanding on our behalf to truly eradicate this little critter.

The flea life cycle has four stages:

Adult Flea – Adult fleas live on your pet. The females can lay up to 50 eggs a day. Can be killed by flea treatments such as Frontline

Flea EggsThe flea eggs fall off your pet and into the surrounding environment (your home). After 2-5 days they will hatch into larvae. Can be killed by some flea treatments and/or household environmental sprays.

Flea Larvae – The flea larvae move away from the light under furniture, between floorboards and deep into the carpet. After 7-14 days the larvae change in to the pupae encased in a protective cocoon. Can be killed by household environmental sprays.

Flea Pupae – Flea pupae can remain dormant for up to a year in the environment. Once the pupae detect trigger factors such as warmth, vibration and carbon dioxide (indicators of a host), the adult flea hatches out and jumps onto your pet. CANNOT be killed by flea treatments or household environmental sprays. The pupae must be encouraged to hatch into adult fleas and be killed by jumping on a treated pet.

      4. Treat your home

Environmental sprays can be used to kill fleas that may be present in your home. A good quality household spray contains active ingredients that kill adult fleas for up to 2 months and eradicate flea eggs and larvae for up to 12 months.

  1. Clean

Wash your pets bedding regularly, preferably on a high wash, 60 degrees Celsius or higher. This will kill any adult fleas, eggs or larvae hiding in your pets bedding.

Vacuum regularly. Not only does this remove dead fleas from the environment, but the vibrations also stimulate the pupae to hatch. Unfortunately, as there is no insecticidal product that kills flea pupae, encouraging them to hatch out into adult fleas is the only option to eradicate these from your home. This is why it’s so important to regularly apply spot-on’s such as Frontline to all cats and dogs in the household to kill new emerging fleas before they get chance to start the life cycle all over again.

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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.



2 Responses to How do you prepare for the summer flea season?

  1. Ellen Murray says:

    Such an interesting talk on fleas I never realised they had to be adult fleas before they can be killed.
    I’ve taken on board everything you’ve said I’m sure I’ll have a happier dog and cat from now on.thank you so much for this invaluable information I’m sgaring with friends and families I’m sure this will be an interest to them sincerely ELLEN MURRAY

  2. Ann Ross says:

    Very interesting an useful facts about fleas

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