It's a common belief that fleas only thrive in summer, but in our beautiful Australian climate they remain active all year round making our pets itchy and uncomfortable. Fleas are the number one cause of skin allergies in cats and dogs and can cause other health problems such as bacterial infections, anaemia and tapeworm infections.
So, how do pets get fleas?
Flea eggs and pupae can remain dormant for long periods of time under a variety of conditions. They can lay dormant in the garden, or in your carpet and furniture, until the conditions are favourable to hatch. From there they need to find a host on which to feed, which can include human members of the family and can jump up to 150 times their own length!
Fleas are tiny, dark brown parasitic insects that infest the coat and skin of pets. One of the first signs of a flea infestation is that your pet will be scratching and seem quite irritated, especially around the base of the tail or backs of their hind legs. For a closer look part your pet’s fur and see whether you may be able to identify adult fleas on the skin. However fleas can be quite elusive it is more likely that you will find flea dirt (flea faeces), which look similar to small black specks of grit, similar to finely ground pepper.
The answer to a flea-free pet is simple - prevention all year round. Remember that fleas breed at a phenomenal rate - 10 adult fleas can multiply to more than 250,000 fleas in only 30 days!
Life cycle of a flea:
How do I treat my pet?
When treating your pet for fleas, ensure that you speak to your local Greencross Vets pet care team about the best products to suit your pet’s needs. This may include a flea comb, medicated shampoo and definitely preventative products such as a top-spot, collar, tablets or chew. Treating all pets in the household and their environment is vital to reduce the chances of flea eggs and pupae in and around your home. This may necessitate hiring a professional pesticide company to support the eradication of the flea problem, regular vacuuming of your floors and washing pets bedding & blankets and spraying your garden with appropriate insecticides.
For more information on the best flea solution for your pet, talk to your local Greencross Vets team today.