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How Do I Protect My Pet Against Fleas?

Published date: 19 February 2024

Fleas are unfortunately part of pet ownership  These parasites can spread diseases, other parasites, lead to irritation and invest our homes.

Regular preventative treatment against fleas is essential for the health of us and our furry friends.  Here is an essential guide to understanding and protecting against these pesky parasites.

How at risk are our pets?

External parasites such as fleas can cause irritation and transmit nasty diseases. Fleas can also transmit tapeworm, in fact the most common tapeworm species found here in the UK is transmitted by fleas.

According to research from The Big Flea Project, these ectoparasites are found widespread across the UK.  In woods, fields, from vet visits, catteries, or kennels and of course your own home and garden.

Parasites are incredibly common with 1 in 4 pets having fleas and 1 in 5 pets having worms at any one time!

Prevention is better than cure

There is no such thing as “flea season”, this parasite is seen ALL YEAR ROUND. Our homes provide warmth at all times of the year, so fleas can develop through their lifecycle.

Our carpets, rugs, and flooring provide places for immature fleas (larvae and eggs) to thrive and hide. The presence of us and our pets provides ample feeding opportunities. Fleas can be a very difficult parasite to control, especially as their numbers rise. Adult female fleas have a high egg output, which means for every flea you spot in your home, there will be 200 unseen eggs lurking in the environment!

By treating for fleas regularly, you can keep everyone in your home safe. The three-step process will help prevent flea breakouts and keep everything under control.

Step 1- Treat the Pet

Keep in mind, just because a flea hasn’t been seen doesn’t mean there aren’t any. Fleas are tiny and are adapted to moving quickly through our pets’ fur. Prevention is better than cure, do not wait until you see fleas or symptoms of them.

Regular treatment keeps your pet protected at all times and lessens the chance of a flea infestation or severe discomfort. Killing the adults before they feed and lay eggs is key!

Remember to choose a product that is designed for killing fleas not repelling them. Killing products will affect any fleas currently present in the coat and are normally suitable from 8 weeks old.

Most flea-killing spot-on’s are designed to be used every 4 or 5 weeks. Some flea products can also protect against ticks, so choose these where possible to give even more protection.

Step 2- Treat the Home/ Environment

Did you know 95% of a flea infestation is in the home?  If you fail to treat your house when your pet is infected with fleas, you are not getting to the root of the problem. Treating the home is essential for flea population control.

Every room will need to be treated, including the rooms your pet doesn’t have access to. Flea eggs are easily carried from room to room via our socks, shoes, and clothes.

Pssst: The car is another important place to treat, as this can be a source of reinfection!

Before you spray, vacuum and sweep the house, including skirting boards, under fridges, rugs and behind furniture. The vibrations from the hoover encourage flea pupae to hatch out as adults. This is essential as the pupae (cocooned stage) of fleas is protected against most sprays, once they hatch as adults they are much easier to kill.

Do not hoover, mop, or clean for AT LEAST a week after spraying. Household flea sprays are designed to work over a long period of time, the spray on your floors will continually kill and disrupt the flea lifecycle if left intact. The longer you can leave it the more effective the spray!

However, in some cases (if there are high numbers of fleas) a second spray may be needed after around 10-14 days to kill off the next wave of hatching parasites.

Step 3 – De-Worm the Pet

Worms are another huge problem for our pets. The most common species of tapeworm is known as the: Flea Tapeworm. This internal parasite is found in the bodies of fleas and is accidentally swallowed via pets licking and grooming their fur.

If your pet has fleas, it is essential to also use a de-wormer, to keep your pet fully protected. De-worming should be done on a regular basis for pets, they will only treat for worms currently in the body.

Always choose a product which treats for both Roundworms and Tapeworms.

Still feeling confused about parasites? Head into your local Pets Corner store, for some advice and helpful tips. For help keeping track of treatments try our On Repeat service.

For more dog and cat advice check out our other helpful blogs.

Written by Lucy Marcham

Lucy teaches all aspects of the Pets Corner curriculum and specialises in animal nutrition, ensuring that our staff have the right knowledge and understanding of pet diets to assist customers with confidence and care.