Keeping our four-legged friends free from pesky parasites is part and parcel of being a responsible pet owner.
And with the warmer weather making it hard to keep fleas under control, PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing is on hand to offer some handy tips ahead of the summer months.
“A key part of responsible pet ownership is regular treatment for fleas and worms,” explains Nina. “But due to their lifecycle, fleas can be a problem for even the most organised owners if the proper steps aren’t taken.
“A common myth with fleas is that only pets can carry them but that’s not exactly true. People as well as pets can bring fleas into the home as they transport on clothing and shoes. This means all pets, including indoor-only pets, require regular flea treatments to prevent the problem.”
Here’s how to spot signs of fleas and how to treat your pet – and your home – to keep fleas away.
- Choose the correct product – follow the advice from your vet in choosing an effective product. The most effective flea treatments are those prescribed by vets.
- Treat your pets 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 extremely toxic for cats and can be fatal.
- Treat all pets – if you have multiple pets in your household, make sure to treat every single one with a suitable 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 floorboards 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. Vacuum all soft furnishings and pay particular attention to edges of carpets. Once the house has been deep cleaned, spray following the manufacturer’s instructions. After spraying, regular vacuuming can help reduce flea numbers in your home.
- 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 their 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, book an appointment with your vet.
With regular preventive treatment, your pet should be able to avoid any nasty critters and enjoy the summer months flea-free! For more information visit www.pdsa.org.uk/fleas
PDSA is the UK’s largest vet charity providing a vital service for pets across the UK whose owners struggle to afford treatment costs for their sick and injured pets. For many vulnerable pets, PDSA is there to help when there is nowhere else for their owners to turn. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information. www.pdsa.org.uk