How To Treat Fleas on Dogs and Cats | Petwell.co.uk
How To Treat Fleas
Your essential guide to protecting your pets and home from fleas and ticks
The Facts About Fleas
What Are Fleas?
Fleas are very small, dark brown, wingless, blood sucking insects.
The Flea Lifecycle
Fleas are really only obvious when they are adults – towards the end of their lifecycle – and represent less than 5% of all the fleas that might be in your home!
To help you understand fleas better, let's look at their lifecycle.
Fleas In The House
Only 5% of fleas are living on your pet
The other 95% are living in your home!
Did you know?
A flea can jump more than 100 times its length (up to 7 inches vertically and up to 13 inches horizontally).
That's equivalent to you jumping around 250 feet vertically and 450 feet horizontally.
Flea Bite Symptoms
Risk To Pets
If left untreated your pet could develop a serious illness, such as;
Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD)
The most common veterinary dermatological condition
Especially in very young or very old pets.
From flea larvae, which have fed on tapeworm eggs.
Risk To Humans
Fleas can also transmit serious diseases to humans, such as;
The bacteria that causes “cat scratch disease”
If a human receives a bite from an infected flea.
And in very rare cases
How to Detect Fleas
Apart from the signs and symptoms, you can also detect fleas by doing the following:
￼￼1. Check Your Pet Visually
If you are quick, you might see an adult flea but you are more likely to notice dark specks like pepper in your pet’s fur – this is “flea dirt”. The base of the tail and between their shoulder blades are the best places to look.
2. White Paper Towel Test
1. Take a sheet of white paper towel and moisten it (cotton wool, a towel or even toilet paper are fine too!)
2. Using a flea comb, comb your pet, paying particular attention to the areas your pet is scratching.
3. Collect the debris on the paper towel.
4. If the debris dissolves and produces red/brown patches in the damp towel you can confirm the presence of fleas.
3. White Sock Test
1. Walk through the effected environment wearing white socks.
2. The pressure and vibrations that you create as you walk will cause the adult flea to jump.
3. Some fleas will jump on your socks and because they are white and the fleas brown you will notice them immediately.
4. You will also see “flea dirt” - black or brown specks.
How To Get Rid Of Fleas
￼Fleas have been around for millennia, it is unsurprising then, that there are a great many ways to treat for fleas, from alternative remedies to prescription only medications and everything else in between.
You don’t need to go to the vet for a prescription to get rid of fleas, there are lots of non-prescription medications such as Frontline and Advantage that are clinically proven to eradicate fleas.
Non-prescription methods for treating your pets for fleas:
There are several different methods of treatment for treating your pet and they include:
Treating your home
How To Treat Your Home
FREEZE THEM OUT!
￼Delicate clothes, children’s toys etc that cannot be put in a hot wash can be frozen! Just pop them in a bin bag and leave them for a few days!
Trick the remaining fleas in your home to come out of hiding by;
Treatment for small pets
How to treat your home
I can still see fleas on my cat after having treated her with a spot on, what do I do?
Don’t worry, the flea treatment that you are using won’t act as a repellent but any fleas that do find their way on to your pet will probably die within 24 hours. Even if you regularly treat your pet, fleas can find their way into the house, so remember to treat your home as well as your pet!
How long will the treatment last, do I have to keep on treating my dog?
Unfortunately there is no permanent treatment method, so you will have to keep on treating your pet regularly. In general, you should re-treat every 4 weeks, however, this depends upon your treatment method. See our treatment guide for more details on specific treatments.
My friend told me that fleas are becoming immune, which is why there are so many fleas around at the moment.
There is no scientific evidence that fleas are becoming immune to treatments. The increase in flea populations are simply due to the weather conditions being perfect for fleas. Flea treatment should be used all year round – including in the home – in order to be effective!
Will the treatment still last if my dog has been in the rain or swimming.
If you can keep your pet away from water for at least 48 hours it should not affect the treatment. Do make sure that your pet is thoroughly dry before treating them too.
￼What is FAD?
Flea allergy dermatitis, or FAD, is one of the most common skin diseases in cats and dogs. It is an allergic reaction to flea bites where you will see your pet scratching and chew excessively at an affected area. If left untreated they will suffer skin trauma, hair loss and even infections. Unfortunately, the only treatment is to treat the affected areas and make sure that fleas don’t bite!
How often should you treat your dog for fleas?
Quality flea treatments can protect pets from fleas for up to 8 weeks, and ticks for up to 4 weeks. But it’s always best to regularly check and reapply if necessary
What does IGR mean?
IGR stands for Insect Growth Regulator; IGRs are chemicals that inhibits the growth cycle of the insect. Depending upon the chemical the treatment contains, the development of the insect will be stopped at specific stages of the lifecycle, or will prevent reproduction etc.
My cat doesn’t go outside, so why did she get fleas?
Fleas are opportunists, they can come in to your home on something you have brought in from the garden, or even hitch a ride on your clothes or shoes, particularly if you have been in contact with someone who has a pet of their own!