Fleas are most prominant during the warmer months but as we keep our homes nice and warm throughout winter, they are a problem for pets and families all year round. Only a small part of the adult flea population actually lives on your pet. The fleas’ eggs and larvae live in the environment and can survive for up to a year. Often the number of fleas is far higher than pet owners think, as only 5% of fleas (the adults) are on the pets - with 95% of the population being in the environment (eggs, larvae, pupae and newly emerged adults). Wash your pet’s bedding using the hottest cycle and regularly vacuum/cleaning carpets will also help reduce flea numbers.
We do not recommend flea collars or flea shampoos alone as they fail to address the environmental flea infestation, and many fleas are resistant to older flea control products such as collars, and some top spot flea controls.
Many dogs and cats can have a reaction to flea saliva resulting in a skin condition called Flea Allergy Dermatitis or FAD. This is akin to mosquito bites in people - they develop really itchy red raised lesions from the bites. Pets then scratch terribly at these areas, resulting in sores and then open infected wounds. Treatment of FAD can be complicated and veterinary consultation is recommended.
Some signs that your pet may have fleas include:
Scratching, biting and hair loss, especially at the base of the tail and rump
You may see fleas (especially over the rump and in the groin region)
It can be difficult to find the fleas, but is relatively easy to check for flea dirt. Simply moisten a cotton ball, part your pet’s fur and place the cotton ball on the skin over the rump. If the cotton ball takes on black specs surrounded by a reddish area, this may be flea dirt and can indicate that your pet has fleas.
Warning: Some non-veterinary brands of flea treatments for dogs are potentially lethal when applied to cats. Always seek veterinary advice about the best flea treatments for your pet.
There are many flea control products on the market. Many do not work effectively. Don't waste time and money trying out the supermarket products. Please call us to discuss an appropriate flea control program for your pet.