Fleas

Fleas are blood-sucking parasites that can make life miserable for pets and their owners, potentially causing: cat scratching

  • Intense itching and scratching, which can result in hair loss
  • Flea Allergy Dermatitis – a very common and unpleasant skin condition caused by an allergy to flea saliva
  • Tapeworm infestation
  • Anaemia in puppies and kittens

Sadly fleas are a common problem and they multiply fast - one female can lay 50 eggs a day, so in just 21 days one flea can become 1,000!

How pets pick up fleas

Fleas rarely jump from one pet to another, as is often thought. Cats and dogs pick them up from infested environments - your garden, the local park, a friend’s house. In fact, any place where an animal with fleas, such as a rabbit, fox or another cat or dog, is found. 

Infested animals leave flea eggs behind wherever they go. New fleas hatch when they sense the warmth, carbon dioxide and vibrations created by a passing pet, and then jump on.

The Flea Lifecycle

This diagram illustrates the four main stages of the common flea life cycle: eggs, larvae, pupae and adult fleas

Flea Lifecycle

Adults

These are likely to be the first sign of a problem you spot.  When on a host (cat, dog, rabbit), an adult flea feeds by sucking blood every 15 minutes.  Each female adult flea lays approximately 50 eggs a day and 1,000 in her lifetime; so you can see how quickly a flea infestation happens.

Eggs

Flea eggs are small (they can't be seen with the naked eye), white and smooth - once laid they fall off the pet into the surrounding environment - house, sofa, car, bed etc.  dog scratching  

Larvae

Flea larvae move away from the light deep into carpets and cracks, where they feed.  The larvae can be killed with environmental sprays such as Indorex.

Pupae

After spinning themselves into cocoons, flea larvae become pupae where they start to fully develop.  It is important to note that there is no product on the market that can kill the flea in its pupal stage. This is why it can take a while to get on top of a flea infestation. In order to speed this process up we advise owners to stimulate the pupae to hatch into adult fleas. For the conditions to be right they need heat, carbon dioxide and vibration.  So we recommend:

  • Turning the heating on / up for an hour every day
  • Hoovering daily - for the vibration
  • People and pets will naturally create carbon dioxide

Preventing Fleas

Step One
 - We recommend using Advocate regularly to kill adult fleas on your pet.  Treat cats and dogs every month all year round, not just when you see fleas Birman cat

Step Two - 
Make sure all cats and dogs in the household are treated at the same time, with the same product. 

Step Three -
Regularly vacuum carpets and furnishings and wash your pet’s bedding on a hot wash. 
This will help reduce the number of eggs, larvae and pupae in the environment.

Treating an infestation

After following the three steps above:

Step Four - 
Use an environmental spray containing a growth regulator, we recommend RIP or Indorex. Household sprays will not kill any flea pupae already present in the home, but they do reduce the number of eggs and larvae that go on to develop into pupae and therefore will decrease the time it takes for the infestation to be resolved.

Step Five -
Allow treated pets continued access to infested areas. 
Fleas that hatch out from pupae in the home can then jump onto your treated pet and be killed through contact with Advocate. No insecticidal treatment kills pupae so this is an important step.