Fleas are most often seen during the warmer months but as we keep our homes nice and warm throughout winter, we see fleas all year round. Only a small part of the adult flea population actually lives on your pet and the fleas’ eggs, larvae and pupae live entirely in the environment and can survive for up to a year, so it is important to not only treat your animal directly for fleas but also decontaminate the environment as well. Wash your pet’s bedding using the hottest cycle and regularly vacuum/clean carpets. Reduce outside sources of flea contamination by blocking pets access to under the house and keeping moist and shady areas free from debris. We do not recommend flea collars, powders or flea shampoos alone as they fail to address the environmental flea infestation.
Fleas can be well controlled with the use of montly topical spot-on products (Advantage, Advocate, Frontline Plus and Revolution all work well). These four products stay in your pet's body for the entire month, and in addition to killing adult fleas they have the benefit of killing flea larva and/or eggs and pupae which stops the flea life cycle. It is important that all dogs and cats in the household are treated every month, even if only one of your pets appears to have fleas. Pets can also be re-infested from many sources such as roaming cats, rodents or untreated pets visiting your household.
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 can be complicated and veterinary consultation is recommended.
Some signs that your pet may have fleas include:
- Scratching, biting and hair loss, especially at the base of the tail and rump
- You may see fleas (especially over the rump and in the groin region)
- It can be difficult to find the fleas, but is relatively easy to check for flea dirt. Simply moisten a cotton ball, part your pet’s fur and place the cotton ball on the skin over the rump. If the cotton ball takes on black specs surrounded by a reddish area, this may be flea dirt and can indicate that your pet has fleas.
Warning: Some non-veterinary brands of flea treatments for dogs are potentially lethal when applied to cats. Always seek veterinary advice about the best flea treatments for your pet.
Please call us to discuss an appropriate flea control program for your pet.