Fleas are most often seen during the warmer months but, because we usually keep our homes nice and warm throughout winter, we do see fleas all year round.
Only a small part of the adult flea population actually lives on your pet. Fleas will tend to jump onto your pet only to feed and then jump off again but the fleas’ eggs and larvae live in the environment and can survive for up to a year.
It is important then to not only treat your animal directly for fleas but to also decontaminate the environment by washing your pet’s bedding using the hottest cycle and by regularly vacuuming carpets. We do not recommend flea collars or flea shampoos alone as they fail to address the environmental flea infestation.
Dogs and cats can also have a reaction to flea saliva resulting in a skin condition called Flea Allergy Dermatitis or FAD. Treatment of FAD usually requires a veterinary consultation.
How can I tell if my pet has fleas?
Your pet is likely to have fleas if:
they are scratching and biting themselves, especially at the base of the tail and rump, or have hair loss there.
you can see fleas on them, especially over the rump and in the groin region.
It is relatively easy to check if specks of dirt on your pet's skin are flea dirt. Simply place any dirt from your pet's skin on a moistened tissue. If the specks of dirt turn the tissue red, they are likely to be flea dirt.
What do I use to treat and prevent fleas on my pet?
There are a number of products available to treat fleas. Some are applied to the skin (usually the back of the neck) and one of the best is Advantage. Others are given by mouth or with food and the one we recommend is Comfortis. There are also products such as Advocate which combine flea treatment, heartworm prevention and intestinal worm control.
Warning: Some non-veterinary brands of flea treatments for dogs are potentially lethal when applied to cats, rabbits or other pets. Also newer products are generally the most effective and safest ones. Always seek veterinary advice about the best flea treatments for your pet.
Please call us at Mont Albert Vet on 9890 1728 to discuss an appropriate flea control program for your pet.