Fleas are more frequently seen during the warmer months, but heated homes throughout winter means we see fleas all year round. Adult fleas live on your pet, while flea eggs and larvae live in the environment. Eggs and larvae can survive up to a year, so to control a flea problem it is important to treat your cat or dog directly and also decontaminate their environment.
A number of highly effective flea control products which kill 98-100% of fleas within 12 hours of application are available from the vet. Some products are registered for use on kittens and cats from 8 weeks of age and puppies and dogs from 7 weeks of age. Washing of your pet’s bedding using the hottest cycle and regularly vacuum/clean carpets helps control eggs, larvae and fleas in the nevironment. Flea collars and shampoos alone will not manage the problem since they fail to address the environmental flea infestation.
Some cats and dogs have an allergic reaction to flea saliva resulting in a skin condition called Flea Allergy Dermatitis. Talk to the vet if you suspect this is a problem.
Signs that your pet may have fleas include:
- Scratching, biting and hair loss, especially at the base of the tail and rump
- You may see fleas, especially over the rump and in the groin area
- Signs of flea dirt