Fleas can be a problem even in the best kept house or on the cleanest pet.
You need to treat both your pet and your home, as fleas can survive without a host for many months. Clean bedding regularly and vacuum furniture, floors and skirting boards to help destroy fleas, spray bedding, carpets etc with a good spray if you have an infestation.
Only give your pet flea treatment that has been recommended for it, ideally as prescribed by a vet, and usually every 4 weeks. Products suitable for one species may not be suitable for another e.g. some dog flea treatments contain permethrin, an insecticide that is safe for dogs but highly toxic to cats.
How can you tell if your pet has fleas?
Is it scratching?
Can you see tiny dark specks in its fur, or small brownish black insects scurrying about?
Do you have any insect bites yourself?
If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions – it could mean fleas.
Flea bites can make your pet uncomfortable and itchy but they can also bring other problems…
Pets can be hypersensitive to flea saliva and suffer an allergic reaction.
Fleas feed on blood, so young or frail animals can become weak and even die as a result of blood loss.
Flea larvae can become infected with tapeworm eggs. If your pet eats an infected flea it can become host to this parasite. If your pet has fleas you should also make sure your pet is treated for worms.
Fleas can also pass diseases to your pets. For example, myxomatosis is a serious disease in rabbits which can be spread by fleas.
It is estimated that 95 per cent of flea eggs, larvae and pupae live in the environment, not on your pet.
Prevent fleas becoming a problem by regularly treating both your pet and your home. This may need to be done all year round if your home is centrally heated.
Ticks are a big hazard if you live in wooded areas or forests or long grass, or have sheep, rabbits or deer roaming near you. They are blood sucking parasites which swell up as they suck blood and can cause soreness, lethargy and discomfort to your pets, and if they are infected can transmit Lyme disease to both pets and people. You can obtain preventative treatment from your vets which should be applied every 4 weeks under their guidance.
It is important to remove ticks which become attached immediately using a special tool which can be purchased from your Vets or pet shop.
Follow instructions for use, but usually you slide the tool sideways under the tick, twist anti-clockwise until the whole thing comes away, do not turn the other way as you may risk leaving part of the tick embedded, and do not pull or squeeze as it may force infection into the wound. Carefully clean the area of the tick bite with antiseptic and wash your hands thoroughly.
Seek veterinary help if you are worried about infection or swollen areas