Why do pets need regular flea treatment?


fleaNot a pretty picture! but as a pet owner, you know that you’ll need to protect your pet against fleas (and ticks) by giving them regular flea treatments.

Did you realise it’s just as important to treat your home too?

Approximately 95% of the flea population live in carpets, furnishings, soft bedding and the garden (in the form of eggs and larvae).

Only 5% of the flea population are in the form of adults.

Fleas are tough little blighters and can be biding their time, growing, developing and breeding quietly somewhere warm in the home or garden, ready to pop out at any time (usually when it gets warmer – either due to central heating or naturally in the Spring) – and have a quick bite and feed from a passing pet.

In this blog we explain the life cycle of fleas, help you understand the importance of both giving your pet regular flea treatments and of treating your home.

The life stages of fleas

Fleas have four different life stages:

  1. Fleas begin as an egg 
  2. They then turn into a larva
  3. The third stage is a pupa
  4. Then finally a biting adult.

It’s usually only the adults we’ll tend to see on our pets and it’s the adults that bite. Whilst flea bites don’t actually harm your pet (most can tolerate the odd bite or two), it’s when your pet has an allergy to bites that problems can start – and of course, adult fleas mean more eggs…so the cycle continues.

How fleas travel?

Have you heard of jumping fleas? Boy can they jump!

Did you know that a flea is able to jump up to 8 inches high? That is 150 times their own height and up to 110 inches longer than their own length.

How do fleas survive?

Fleas feed from the blood of their host animal (including humans!), but they can survive for up to 100 days without a blood meal.

This means that even if the flea hasn’t yet made it onto your pet’s (or your own) skin, they will be able to cause damage when they do.

As we’ve already explained, fleas in all their different stages, can survive on your pet’s beds, on your clothes and other soft furnishings in your home – that’s why it’s important to treat those areas too as well as your animal.

How fleas affect your pet

Fleas (and ticks) can cause a whole host of different problems for pets that they infest.

Flea and tick saliva is an irritant, which can make skin itchy and red. Skin problems tend to be the most common flea problem that vets see.

Some pets can develop an allergy to their saliva, and in severe cases, end up suffering from anaemia and tapeworms. (That’s why it’s usually recommended that a regular worming routine is also followed).

Hair loss can also occur as a result of severe itching.

How to eliminate fleas from your pet and home

There are a range of different formulas of flea and tick control products widely available on the market. Some are available over the counter, some upon pet registration, and others only with a veterinary prescription*.

*Don’t forget that Animed Direct sells prescription only medicines and flea treatments as well as a range of other non-prescription treatments. Simply search on our website for your prescribed treatment, add to basket then upload a valid prescription.

Products include topical treatments (usually spot-on) for the skin, sprays and tablets and these are available as both preventative treatments and treatments for a current issue.

You can eliminate any parasites that may be lingering in your home by using a household flea spray. Read the instructions for these carefully before using, ensuring there are no animals, fish, birds or people! in the rooms being treated. The active ingredients need time to work before you can go back and thoroughly vacuum.

Don’t forget to spray all soft furnishings/floorings/curtains, blankets and clothing that may contain the fleas and ticks or wash them on high heat.

After spraying the home, if you don’t already, vacuum every day for the following week. The noise and vibrations help stir the fleas from their hard-to-reach corners and gives you a better chance of collecting them.

Tip: Dispose of and change the vacuum bag or spray in the cylinder to kill anything off in there too.

Pets can catch fleas from activities as normal as a walk in the park or garden so this means that there is little you can do to completely prevent your pet getting them – some kittens and puppies even catch them from their mother, so may already have a flea infestation before they’ve even left the confines of your house.

Fleas can be successfully kept at bay, but only if you undertake regular flea treatments of your pet and your home. Simply ridding the fleas once, wont prevent the eggs and larva from developing, ready to hatch and jump out again plus it’s hard to prevent animals bringing them in from outside.

Talk to you vet about recommended treatments, then take a look at Animed Direct for either your over-the-counter or prescribed flea treatments – we can be significantly cheaper than your vet and as it’s a regular cost, it’s worth comparing prices for both flea and worming treatments.