Household fleas are often thought off as pesky parasites that are around once the weather warms up a bit. They’re an irritation to your pet, and irritating for you when you and your family get nibbled by them at home.
But there’s more to the problem than this. In most modern homes they have become a year-round potential hazard, can cause serious suffering to your pet, AND spread disease.
Household fleas used to be a problem isolated to spring and summer, but modern homes with central heating and thick carpets are ideal year-round breeding grounds as fleas thrive in a warm environment.
Flea eggs can remain inactive in pet beds, carpets, rugs and sofa’s for many months before emerging and finding a host to feed off. In fact, most of this parasite’s life-cycle takes place on the host.
In order to protect your pet and your family, you must break this cycle and provide year-round protection so there’s never a gap. The most effective treatment is one that leaves the eggs unable to hatch, so any that do make it to the environment don’t start the cycle all over again.
Heavy flea infestations can have several serious consequences including iron deficiency resulting in anaemia and death, particularly in young animals. There are also many diseases that can be spread by fleas. Fortunately, many are rare, but diseases that can and have been transmitted by fleas include pruritus (intense long-term itching), cat scratch disease, murine typhus, plague (now eradicated), flea typhus, tapeworm infection and flea bite allergies.
Why occasional flea treatments just don’t work
By the time you’ve spotted that your pet has visitors, the fleas will have already bitten them, injected saliva into their bloodstream and started laying eggs. Even if you then use a treatment that remains active for a month, some eggs and fleas could potentially be lurking for longer than this period and will start their campaign all over again once the treatment has worn off.
Reactive and one-off treatments don’t stop the initial attack and therefore the spread of disease, or do anything to break the life cycle. Our recommendation is a monthly treatment that not only kills any attacking fleas but also stops the development of eggs and therefore breaks the chain. This approach will stop the initial attack and protect your home, your pet and your family throughout the year.
What is a flea?
A flea is a tiny wingless insect. It is a parasite that lives on their hosts (cats and dogs). Adult fleas are up to about 3 mm (0.12 in) long and usually brown. The distinctive flat shape of their body allows them to move effortlessly through their host’s fur. Their mouths are evolved for piercing skin and sucking blood and hind legs perfectly designed for jumping.
Our 4-step guide if you think your pet has fleas:
- Treat them. You’ll need something that kills fleas and ideally one that contains something that stops the eggs from hatching. Call us and we’ll let you know what we have that can help.
- Treat the environment. Your home and car are probably already housing fleas, eggs and larvae through transfer – either by your pet or people moving around. These areas will need to be treated with a mild insecticide such as Indorex spray. This will kill any live fleas and stop eggs from developing further. If your infestation is or becomes worse, you’ll need to contact a pest control agency. They’ll have access to strong insecticides and equipment for dispersing these.
- Furniture, bedding and carpets should be hoovered and preferably washed. This sounds simple but is very effective at removing any lingering fleas, eggs or larvae.
- Machine wash anything that’s washable such as rugs, towels and blankets and any soft pet beds. Fleas, eggs and larvae are unlikely to survive a cycle in the washing machine and it helped ensure treatment is thorough. Kill as many as possible first, but treat as above, as movement and transfer will inevitably result in some dropping off on the way to the washing machine.
The hassle-free (and cheaper!) way to treat
Finding out if local fleas are immune to any treatments, then deciding which one to go for and remembering to buy and apply that product at the right time every month involves some organisation. To make this both easier and cheaper, membership of our Healthy Pet Scheme ensures you always have the most suitable product at the right time, without fail. You no longer have to worry about ordering your treatment, waiting for it to arrive, and hoping it arrives in time. This is all time consuming, and liable to fail just because life is generally so busy these days.
Save money on flea treatments when you join our Healthy Pet Scheme
Most people join our Healthy Pet Scheme for the convenience of it, but it’s good to know that it also saves you money. As a member of the scheme buying parasite treatments is cheaper than buying them as a non-member, and you’ll benefit from lots of other discounts too. Healthy Pet Scheme members also have vaccinations boosters budgeted for over the year – and get free health checks!
It really is the best way to ensure your companions remain happy and healthy all year round.
Save money on flea and other routine treatment by joining below
Talk with a vet
If you need advice or help on anything you have read in this blog post please contact us on either of the numbers below where a vet will be able to assist you.
Castle Cary: 01963 350307 Yeovil: 01935 474690