Pet Fleas getting you down?
Left unchecked, these pesky little parasites can wreak serious havoc on our pets, our home and our health.
We’re here to give you the lowdown on fleas. Read more to learn what they are, where they come from, why they’re a big deal – and how you can protect your pet and your home.
1. What are fleas?
There’s more to fleas than just making our pets itchy.
They’re tiny, blood-sucking parasites, who survive by sucking the blood of other mammals. There are thought to be over 2,500 species of flea in the world.
The most common flea in the UK is the ‘Ctenocephalides Felis’ (the ‘Cat Flea’), but it will also happily use a dog as its host.
Once fleas have found their way into your home, they’re almost impossible to evict without the help of specialist pesticide treatments.
2. What do fleas look like?
Fleas are tiny little bugs, with wingless bodies protected by a hard shell. They have long legs, perfect for jumping, and they can range from light-brown to nearly black in colour.
3. Are fleas dangerous for my pet? What happens if they are left untreated?
Fleas can cause serious illnesses and allergies for our pets, as well as chronic skin conditions and irritations.
In severe cases, when left to run riot, fleas can also cause anaemia (especially in young pups or kittens) which sadly can be fatal.
4. When is flea season?
Typically, ‘peak’ flea season refers to the warmer summer months.
The warm, mild climate provides optimum breeding conditions for fleas. But thanks to the comforts of modern living (central heating) fleas are actually a year-round problem.
It’s best to keep on top of your monthly flea treatments all year because if you’re lucky enough to have a house that’s toasty warm in winter, you’re inadvertently creating the perfect environment for fleas to thrive.
5. Where do fleas come from?
Your pet can pick up fleas from anywhere. A play in the park, the garden or walks on the street – fleas can find their way into your home easily.
Don’t be fooled into thinking your pet is safe if they stay indoors, either. Fleas can hitch a ride into your home on your own shoes or clothing, where your unsuspecting indoor pet lives.
6. How can I spot a flea infestation?
If you have a flea infestation in your home, it will be fairly easy to find the source. The most common places fleas congregate are often your pet’s bedding, your own bed, your carpets and your curtains. Think like a flea: check anywhere warm, dark and cosy.
7. What is the flea life cycle?
Fleas reproduce quickly, so if you’ve spotted one flea on your pet the bad news is that this usually means there are more.
The flea life cycle is made up of four stages: egg, larvae, pupae and adult flea.
Only 5% of your total flea population live on your pet. The other 95% lurking around your home, and is mainly made up of flea eggs, larvae and pupae.
These stages are the hardest ones to beat, and why you’ll need repeated monthly treatments (along with more hardcore options like flea spray) to come out victorious.
8. Can humans catch fleas?
Humans can’t catch fleas, but they can still be bitten, and infected with the diseases fleas carry.
Fleas can carry Bartonella, the bacteria which causes Cat Scratch Disease. Cats, dogs and people can all be affected by this disease if exposed to infected fleas or flea dirt. Symptoms can include swollen lymph nodes and fever, and it can be even more dangerous for people living with lowered immune systems.
Fleas can also act as hosts for tapeworms, which can infect and make people very poorly (especially young children).
9. How can I prevent my pet from getting fleas?
Fighting fleas is hard work, and can be pretty grim. It’s far easier to cut off any potential infestations BEFORE they’ve had time to develop.
Keep them away by applying a high-quality flea treatment like Itch Flea every month, as part of a robust, preventative parasite regime.
10. What do I do if I see a flea on my pet?
Firstly, you need to determine if the fleas you can see are alive or dead. A good way to test for this is to use the ‘damp cotton wool’ test.
Run a piece of damp cotton wool over your pet’s fur. If the dirt turns red, the fleas ain’t dead – and you need to move quickly before things get out of hand.
Getting rid of fleas is a two-step process:
- Treat your home first. Only treating your pet and not your home is like shovelling snow while it’s still snowing… pointless. You need to tackle the source of the existing infestation first, or you’ll soon find yourself right back at square one again.
Wash all of your soft furnishings on a hot wash, hoover like there’s no tomorrow and invest in a decent household flea spray to help quickly eradicate fleas in one, swift swoop.
- Treat your pet. Once you’ve treated your home, make sure to treat your pet with a specialist flea treatment, like Itch Flea. This will take care of any fleas living on your pet, and any newbies that try to hop on to them for a full month afterwards.
Make sure your pet stays up-to-date with their parasite protection by treating them once a month with a high-quality flea treatment like Itch Flea.
Sign up today and get your first month free at itchpet.com.