With the recent mild winter we have experienced and forecast of a long hot summer, experts are predicting the perfect conditions for a massive flea outbreak this year!
It is the ideal time to start implementing an effective flea control strategy for your pets now, before numbers start to grow out of control as the weather warms up. Fleas are the most common external parasite of cats and dogs. They feed off blood by biting through the skin and injecting a substance in their saliva to stop the blood from clotting. A single flea can consume 15 times their body weight in blood in just one day!
Excessive scratching, nibbling and grooming can cause patches of hair loss, most commonly in a triangle along the back and hindlimbs of cats and dogs. Some pets can be very sensitive to flea bites and their saliva, triggering an allergic reaction and severe skin irritation. In young puppies and kittens, anaemia due to the blood loss from heavy infestations can even be life threatening.
Surprisingly, only about 5% of the flea population lives as adults on a pet. The remaining 95% actually live in the environment as eggs, larvae and pupae that develop into adult fleas. These like to hide in your pet’s bedding, carpets, between floorboards, and amongst the dirt and debris in the garden.
The Flea Lifecycle
Female fleas lay eggs, up to 50 a day, which then hatch into larvae. The larvae crawl into dark spaces and spin a cocoon around themselves before developing into pupae. Adult fleas emerge from these cocoons, before jumping onto your pet to start the cycle again. In warm, favorable conditions this can all happen in as little as 2 weeks!
Tips for tackling fleas!
An ideal flea control strategy not only involves providing protection for your pet, but also eliminating all stages of the flea life cycle in your pet’s environment.
1. Treat your pet
Regularly treat all pets in your household. Different flea control products provide varying lengths of protection, ranging from 4 weeks to up to 8 months, so be sure to check when selecting the best product for your pet.
- Spot-on treatment
- Chewable tablet
- Flea collar
2. Treat the environment
- Regularly clean your pet’s blankets and bedding in a hot wash
- Vacuum your house regularly, as well as furniture, car seats and boots
- Prevent pets from crawling in damp, dark spaces, such as under houses and decking.
- Remove piles of plant debris, such as decaying leaves that pets may like to sleep on in the garden.
- Prevent other animals, especially stray cats, from entering your house.
- Products such as flea sprays and bombs can also be used in your home to help kill flea infestations quickly.
Preventing fleas now is always better than having to tackle an infestation, for you and your pet.