Keeping Fleas at Bay
Expert advice from PDSA vets on preventing parasites
The UK has enjoyed lots of warm sunshine this year, and while it’s meant delightful days of basking in the sunshine for us, the hot weather can lead to big problems when it comes to fleas.
“A key part of responsible pet ownership is regular and appropriate protection from parasites such as fleas and worms. Due to their lifecycle, fleas can be a problem for even the most diligent of owners if the proper steps aren’t taken,” said PDSA Vet, Olivia Anderson-Nathan.
People as well as pets can bring fleas and their larvae or eggs into homes on clothing and shoes. So even indoor-only pets require regular flea treatments to prevent a problem.
To prevent fleas affecting your pet this summer read Olivia’s top tips:
· Choose the correct product – get advice from your local vet to prescribe an effective product, as many over-the-counter products contain only weak repellents or need to be reapplied very frequently.
· Treat your pet(s) regularly – follow your chosen product’s instructions very carefully and if you are unsure how often the treatment should be applied, talk to your vet.
· DO NOT use dog treatments on cats as some treatments for dogs can contain chemicals that are harmful for cats.
· Treat all pets – if you have multiple pets in your household, make sure to treat every single one with an appropriate product, as fleas can jump from one host to the next.
· Treat your house – flea eggs and larvae can live in soft furnishings and cracks between floor boards for up to a year. If you’re dealing with a flea infestation, make sure you wash your pet’s bedding and blankets at a minimum of 60 degrees, and flea spray your home with a suitable long-acting product, or it will take much longer to get rid of fleas. After spraying, regular vacuuming can also help reduce flea numbers in the environment.
· Prevent other parasites – fleas can carry and transmit tapeworms so regular worming is also very important.
Grooming your pets regularly is not just a good way to keep your pet’s coat in perfect condition, it also gives you the chance to check for any skin problems.
Some pets are allergic to flea saliva, so even just one flea bite can cause a reaction. This can cause their skin to become seriously itchy, and excessive scratching or licking can easily lead to a skin infection. Keep an eye out for red, inflamed skin especially in the area where their tail meets their body. If you spot anything concerning, give your vet a call to get this checked out.
With regular preventive treatment, your pet should be able to avoid any nasty critters trying to hitch a ride this summer!
PDSA is the UK’s leading vet charity. We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information. www.pdsa.org.uk