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FLEAS! Really bad this year- top advice

 Fleas are a HUGE problem at the moment. Important to note- Fleas have been around for millions of years, they serve no useful purpose to anyone or anything – if they were easy to get rid of man would have done so already!

With the high infestation around at present we have put together what looks like a large amount of information but please take the time to read- you CAN get on top of this! We are also expecting a huge surge of fleas again when everyone starts putting their heating on again in autumn. Please contact us if you have any additional questions or concerns.

What treatment do we advise?

We recommend monthly treatment with Nexguard chewable tablets for dogs This is safe and effective and the tasty chews are usually very palatable – most dogs will take them as a treat. The benefit of giving a tablet rather than using a spot on preparation is that you do not have to worry about keeping your dog out of water for 2 days before and after applying a spot on (this affects its efficacy) – it can be very frustrating to watch your dog leap gracefully into a lake or get drenched in an unexpected downpour the day after you applied your spot on solution! However, if you choose to use a spot on, they are very effective and we can advise you on the most suitable product for your dog.

For cats, we recommend Broadline Spot-on solution once monthly. This is safe and effective and is very easy to apply to most cats. The benefit of using Broadline is that as well as rapidly killing fleas, this product is also a broad-spectrum wormer and so with one application you can effectively  de-flea and de-worm your cat.

Why is it vital that all pets in your household are treated?

Each pet acts as a host for fleas so it is essential that all pets are treated, not just the pets that go outdoors. If one is left untreated, it will support the flea life cycle. Please remember that flea treatment should be used all year round to help treat and prevent fleas- not just when you actually see fleas. By the time you see fleas they are probably already at home in your home! In times of heavy flea infestations we recommend monthly treatment and this should be used a minimum of 3 months* to see results along with environment treatment and don’t forget tapeworms are spread by fleas!

Why is the correct pack size for the pet’s weight important?

If the pet is underdosed because the wrong pack size is used for the pet’s weight, the treatment will not be as effective as it could be. Pets must be weighed regularly to make sure the correct pack size is used. To make absolutely sure you have the correct product size, feel free to pop in and use our scales. We can then update your pets records at the same time.

Is it important to treat at the recommended intervals?

YES! It is really important to correctly follow the repeat application instructions and it may be necessary to use more frequently in times of increased infestation. No product will work as effectively if it isn’t used correctly. An interruption in treatment gives the pesky critters time to reinfest!

Are fleas being seen on the pets? When are fleas seen? Is this situation the same for all the pets?

No product has been produced yet that will stop fleas from jumping onto a treated pet, so if the pet goes outdoors into an infested area, it is normal to see a handful of fleas on that pet for up to 24 hours after the exposure. These are known as ‘hitchhicker fleas’ and will be killed before they have a chance to lay eggs. If one pet seems to have fleas and another doesn’t, it could be because of where that pet is spending time or because one pet grooms more than the other (cats especially can groom most fleas out of their coat before you notice the fleas but not before they’ve laid eggs that have fallen into the home). If all the pets are covered in lots of fleas all the time then it may be a home infestation due either to gaps in treatment, not all pets being treated or underdosing. The problem is so great at the moment fleas are breeding outside. This means pets are going outside and picking up fleas. These will be killed within 24 hrs in treated pets. Its infuriating but doesn’t mean that your flea protection isn’t working.

How is the product applied?

The Nexgaurd Dog treatment is a very tasty treat which should be instantly devoured by your dog.

Topical flea control products should be applied to the skin on the back of the neck. If it’s applied to the hair it will evaporate and be ineffective. The newer cat flea & wormer spot on is now in a syringe applicator so that this is easier and for dogs if you prefer you can give in tasty treat form. Ask us for help in choosing.

What if family members are being bitten?

Fleas don’t generally jump from pet to owner. If people are being bitten, especially on the feet or ankles, there is almost certainly a home infestation. This means that along with monthly treatment of all the pets in the home for at least 3 months*, the home itself will also need to be treated.

Should my home environment be treated? If so, what with and when?

Flea eggs fall off the pet around the home. These eggs develop into larvae, then pupae, before new fleas hatch from them. Nothing kills pupae in their cocoons, even insecticides, so new fleas will continue to hatch out from any pupae already in the home even after the pet and the environment have been treated. Each newly hatched flea will die within 24 hours of jumping onto a treated pet. With a severe infestation it can take several months for all the pupae to hatch, so fleas will continue to be seen on the pet during this time. Vacuum more often than usual. Wash pet’s bedding at 60°C. Use a home treatment containing an insect growth regulator to kill any eggs and larvae already present in the home.

* Please see our separate advice on treating your home.

Do any other animals come into the home or garden? Do the pets spend time outdoors in places other than the garden?

Foxes, untreated pets and stray cats will all shed hundreds of flea eggs into environments that treated pets spend time in. You may still see fleas from these outdoor infestations on treated pets for up to 24 hours afterwards. Remember that in treated pets, these acquired fleas will die within 24hrs!

Does it matter if my pet gets bathed or goes swimming?

Bathing or swimming more than once a week may reduce the length of time that the topical flea treatments are effective, so if a pet is bathed often, monthly application is required. The efficacy of shop bought topical products and collars is reduced with bathing or swimming even on a once-monthly basis, so always consider this if you have a water baby pooch! The new tasty treat flea product for dogs isn’t affected by water.

* Why do we keep saying at least 3 months? Click here for even more information!

 * Treating your home advice here

*** Spread the cost of your regular flea & worm treatments and vaccinations and health checks by joining our Healthy Pet Club ***

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