News & Advice

Fight Fleas this summer – what you need to know to avoid the itch

Feb 1, 2022 | Cats, Dogs, Pet Health

It’s been hot. The fleas population has exploded! Here’s a list of our top tips and frequently asked questions – if you would like specific advice, give us a call; we’re here to help.


Treating your pets

Treat all pets against fleas. Since our pets share the same species of flea, it is essential to treat all dogs, cats and rabbits in your household.

Get the right treatment for your pet. Flea treatments are specific to your pet’s weight, and are available as chews, spot on’s, or collars. It is a good idea to weigh your pet before visiting the clinic if possible, as well as consider which type of treatment will best suit your pet. For example, if your dog swims a lot, a chew may be a better option than a spot on. If you are unsure, have a chat with one of our helpful staff.

Follow instructions on the packet. Give the correct dose, in the correct way – as per instructions, and then re-treat in the recommended time frame.


Consider treating fleas in the environment too

Alongside regularly treating your pet, it is also important to vacuum and wash their bedding in hot water, as this can help to disrupt the flea cycle by physically removing the eggs and larvae.

If you have a flea infestation, it is a good idea to treat your pets bedding, house, and car,  using insect growth regulating spray/bomb or fogger, this way the eggs and larvae are treated too, helping to break the cycle faster.

After an infestation, how long does it take to stop seeing fleas?

It may take two weeks to 4 months to control flea populations, depending on the extent of your problem and where the fleas are living. One client couldn’t seem to get on top of the issue until they realised their cat had a favourite spot in the garden – this turned out to be where they kept picking up fleas from. Treat all the areas your pet visits regularly, including house, car and specific areas in the garden to break the lifecycle faster.

Fleas seen during this time are not adults who have survived previous treatments, but are new fleas still emerging from their cocoons. They will be killed soon after they jump onto their host… provided the host (your pet) has been treated correctly for fleas.

If you see fleas moving slow enough to catch – success – they are busy dying.


Choosing a Flea product

How long do I want the flea treatment last? Most flea treatments are monthly, but many people find it difficult to remember every month. Extended treatments are available for both dogs and cats. There is a vet-only, waterproof flea collar for dogs and cats that lasts 8 months (note, the Seresto collar is the ONLY effective flea collar). Additionally, there are spot on’s that you can get that last 3 months (cats) or 6 months (dogs).

How do I want to give the flea treatment? Some people prefer giving their animals tasty chews, while others prefer spot-on liquid. Chews can be a problem for the odd picky animal, or for the rare animal with allergies to the ingredients. Spot-on liquids can sometimes leave a greasy stain, may temporarily delay bath-time or swim-time, and the occasional animal may develop a mild skin irritation. The Seresto flea collar does not suit animals who are likely to get the collar caught and broken/lost.

Do I want to treat for worms or ticks at the same time? Only a few types of flea products contain de-worming products or are licensed for ticks. Also bear in mind that most of the flea/worm combination treatments do not kill tapeworm (the worm that your animal will get from eating fleas).

Also consider – Is my animal allergic to fleas? Some animals get INTENSE itching from just a couple of fleas. These animals have ‘flea allergy dermatitis’ (FAD) and should be treated with a product licensed to treat FAD.

And remember, the flea products that your veterinary clinic carries come supported by a lot of research. There is no guarantee that a supermarket flea product will do a complete job. Even if the drug contained in the product is the same, there is no guarantee that it will spread over the skin or through the body in the same way as a vet-only product.


What do I do if my pet is still scratching?

If your pet is still itchy and their flea treatment is all up to date, it is a good idea to book an appointment with your vet. The longer you leave your pet scratching and injuring its own skin, the worse the infection can get. It will soon reach a stage where we need to use medication to stop this cycle, while we also still need to find the original cause of the itch and deal with that.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or pop into one of our clinics to have a chat.


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