Fleas are unfortunately unavoidable for our pets, but arming ourselves with knowledge and protection can help to alleviate some of the itchy effects.
What does this mean for you and your household? Well firstly the important thing to remember is prevention is always better than treatment! Having your pet on a good quality flea treatment all year round is advisable.
Types of Flea Prevention/Treatment
There are two basic types of flea treatment; spot on and chewable. It is completely dependent on yourself and your preferences as to which one will suit you and your pet;
Spot on is usually applied once a month directly, onto the skin between the shoulder blades of your pet, this must be done with completely dry skin, and left to soak in, which means no baths for a couple of days. There are longer acting spot-on treatments available but the necessary application intervals vary between cats and dogs, so it is important to discuss treatment options with your vet in order to safely and effectively find what is right for you and your pet.
Chewable tablets are given monthly or tri-monthly depending on the product used; the advantage of these is that your pet can get wet and there is no risk of you or your family accidentally patting them and getting the treatment on your hands. The disadvantage of course is some pets just won’t take tablets!
What are the Secondary Effects of Fleas?
It is not uncommon for some animals to actually have an allergy to fleas, this can cause them great discomfort if fleas were to bite them and cause an allergic dermatitis, this can sometimes lead to severe secondary infections. If this is the case, we often recommend the chewable tablets as they aid in relieving the effects of flea dermatitis by taking effect quickly.
It’s often hard to spot fleas on a cat as their dense fur provides excellent cover for those mischievous fleas! This is even more reason to treat your cat regularly for flea prevention.
Whilst flea treating cats, if you notice fleas are present it is very important to also worm your cat. When cats groom themselves, they often ingest the fleas, this is what often leads to intestinal worms manifesting themselves in your cat’s system. Equally you must also worm your dog regularly and especially when fleas are present as if your dog was to eat the fleas, this too can lead to intestinal worms.
Particularly around this time of year fleas tend to be quite active, so if you do notice fleas on your pet and they are not already on some sort of flea prevention, pop down to your local vet clinic and get them started on a flea treatment. The longer fleas are left to breed the harder it is to flush them out of the environment.
What if I have an Infestation?
Once your pet has got fleas, you’ll need to set about flea treating all animals in your household. Fleas require a host to live and breed and the only hosts they like are your pets! But they often jump off to lay their eggs and hide in your pets’ bed and sometimes your furniture. So even though you kill the fleas on your pet, more will jump on from their hiding places elsewhere in the house and garden. These new fleas will soon die off after sampling some of that flea treatment, so it’s important to stick with it! Don’t be discouraged if you continue seeing fleas on your pet after treating them, these are new fleas trying to find a yummy host to live on, but if your pet is on flea treatment they will not succeed!
If you would like to speed the process along, you can incorporate flea bombs and washing of all bedding. A very cost-effective way of aiding the process is using eucalyptus spray and a drop of eucalyptus oil in the wash.
Fleas cannot survive on your pet if there is a good quality flea treatment employed, if given religiously every month you should never have a flea problem!
If you do find yourself in a bit of a flea predicament, feel free to pop down to the clinic to discuss what sort of treatment or even prevention program is best for you!