What can lay up to 50 eggs per day, and jump more than 150 times its body length, and make your pet really itchy? Fleas of course! Fleas can be a huge problem for pets and their owners alike, causing severe skin irritation and in some cases more serious illness such as anaemia (low red blood cell counts). Below are some important facts about fleas and pets.
What are the signs that my pet might have fleas?
Of course, excessive itching/scratching is the most common sign of fleas. Dogs often show severe skin irritation (redness, sores, hair loss) around the tail base and rump. Cats may pull out their fur or develop small sores/scabs all over their body. Some dogs and cats are allergic to flea saliva, meaning that even a single flea bite can cause severe itching and redness. Fleas themselves can be tricky to spot (especially in long-haired pets) due to their size and speed, but you may see a lot of black “dirt” in the coat which is actually flea faeces (digested blood!) left behind after they have fed on your pet.
How do I get rid of them?
There are two important factors to getting rid of fleas: treat your pets and treat the environment. Fleas can lay thousands of eggs in the environment (your pet’s bedding, carpet, between floorboards, in the garden) which can survive for long periods, so it can sometimes take several months to completely clear an infestation. This is particularly true in the warmer months when the life cycle proceeds more quickly, but fleas can be a problem year-round. There are several safe and effective flea treatments available for dogs and cats, including chewable tablets and spot-on products (applied to the back of the neck). With any treatment, it is important to treat ALL pets in the house (not just the ones who are itchy) and where possible clean the environment at the same time – wash all bedding, vacuum floors and then discard the vacuum bags. If using flea sprays/bombs or pest control services, ensure your pets are removed from the area for an appropriate time period. Most importantly, understand that it may take several months to remove all fleas from the environment, so often it is best to continue using flea prevention year-round for your pets. Preventing an infestation is much easier than clearing one!
For more information about flea prevention options for your pet, give us a call on 9751 2999 or pop in to chat to one of our friendly staff. Ask about our Platinum Paws Club to have your pet’s flea and tick treatments delivered straight to your door every 3 months!
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