Fleas

Fleas can be a problem even in the best kept homes and on the cleanest of pets. And they're not just irritating to the skin - left untreated they can cause severe problems.

  • A dog will almost certainly suffer from a flea infestation at some point during his life.
  • The most common flea in dogs and cats is the cat flea. The flea life cycle is around 21 days.
  • Fleas can cause pets to become restless and distressed. They can cause itching and inflammation, possibly leading to major skin problems. Most flea reactions in dogs are seen on the lower back area, above the tail.
  • They are responsible for the transmission of tapeworms; therefore, it is important to remember when treating your dog for fleas, to treat him for tapeworms too.
  • Some dogs can develop an allergy to flea saliva, and this can lead to a very itchy reaction.
  • Fleas can bite us owners as well! (although they do not live on our skin.)
  • Fleas spend the majority of their life-cycle in the home environment. Only adult fleas are seen on the dog. The female flea lays the eggs on the dog's coat, these fall off and can be found wherever your dog spends most of its time: in his bedding, in the carpet, on the sofa, or even on your bed!
  • The flea feeds on blood from your dog, several times a day. Dogs can pick up fleas from outside the home or from other animals.
  • More often than not, an owner will notice small specks of grit on the dog's coat. To establish if this is flea dirt, brush the coat, and allow the material to fall onto moist white tissue. Flea dirt will produce a red mark.
  • Effective flea treatment and control involves treating both the environment and the dog.
  • There are various products available, but we recommend Advocate Spot on from 7 weeks of age. 

Home treatment

To keep fleas under control you need to treat both your pet and home. Fleas live and feed on pets. After feeding on your pet's blood the female flea lays eggs which drop into the animal's bedding or favourite resting place. The highest concentration of eggs, larvae and pupae are likely to be in these areas rather than on the animal itself. So keep your pet's living and sleeping environment clean and dust-free.

Regular cleaning of bedding combined with thorough vacuuming of furniture and floors, particularly around skirting boards, will help to destroy each stage of the flea's life cycle. You should throw away the dustbag from your hoover after each use to prevent any flea eggs and larvae from developing.

The best way to stop fleas is to pay a visit to your veterinary surgeon who will recommend products suitable to treat your pet and your home. Make sure you follow all instructions to the letter.

What's more it's not just the flea bites that can make your pet scratch - they can also be allergic to the flea saliva. This is called flea-bite hypersensitivity. Cats are particularly susceptible and can develop itchy crusty spots throughout their coats. This is one cause of a condition called miliary dermatitis and can be initiated by just one flea.

  • Did you know... fleas can lay up to 20 eggs per day and 500 in one lifetime.
  • Did you know... the flea's life cycle may be as short as 15 days or as long as 250.
  • Did you know... the larvae which develop from flea eggs can become infected with tapeworm eggs. If your pet eats an infected flea, it can also become host to this parasite.