Flea control is one of the most common topics our nurses are asked about. With a wide range of products on the market, it can be very confusing to pet owners.
The most important thing to understand about controlling fleas is that they spend very little of their life on pets. They only spend around 5% of their lives on animals and 95% of their time in the environment. This means that just killing the fleas on your dog will not help the problem to a great extent. The environmental burden of fleas needs to be addressed as well.
These are our top tips for flea control:
- Treat all animals in the household. You might just be seeing fleas on the dog, but if you don’t treat the cat then the fleas will have somewhere to keep breeding.
- Use good quality products. We recommend Bravecto as a flea control product as it kills fleas quickly, is waterproof, and lasts for three months in dogs and two months in cats. There are other products which work just as well, so if you’re not sure what is best for your pet, have a chat with your vet. Avoid products which contain pyrethrins, as these are very toxic to cats, are quickly deactivated by sunlight, and are not very effective. Flea washes are also quite ineffective, as they kill the fleas on the dog but don’t address the 95% which are in the environment
- Start treatment early. It’s easier to control fleas before they become established. As most dogs and cats are constantly exposed to fleas on walks, by stray cats coming onto the property, or when socialising with other pets, we recommend keeping your pet on a product such as Bravecto.
- Vacuum regularly. Flea eggs hatch in response to vibrations. Vacuuming works well to remove flea eggs and larvae, but also encourages them to hatch quickly. This means the problem can be dealt with in the shortest possible time. We recommend giving your pets a good quality flea control product, such as Bravecto, then having them inside the house when you vacuum. This means that as the fleas hatch, they are more likely to end up on the dog or cat and quickly killed by the flea control product.
- Beware when moving into a rental or new house. Flea eggs can sit in the environment for months without hatching if the house is empty. The vibrations from people and pets as they move in triggers the fleas to hatch, which can cause a problem very quickly. Use the process in point 4 above to reduce this problem when you move into a new house.
- Treat the environment. If your dog or cat goes under the house a lot, they may e picking up fleas from there. Consider restricting access to those areas, or contact a specialist pest controller to spray the area. By using a specialist you can be assured the products used will be safe for your pets and your family.
- If your dog or cat is scratching, make sure it is fleas. We find some clients become frustrated when their dog or cat is still scratching despite being on good quality flea control. Remember that scratching can be caused by a wide range of problems, so if you can’t see fleas but have an itchy pet, it’s time for a visit to the vet.
If you find that you still have a flea problem despite doing the above, please feel free to call us and talk to our fully qualified veterinary nurses. And if you want the convenience of high-quality flea control delivered to you when it’s due, our Healthy Pets Club could be just for you. CLICK HERE for more details.