Keep fleas in check

Fleas can be a problem even in the most spotless home or on the cleanest pet. 


Flea treatment

  • Treat both your pet and your home, as fleas can survive without a host for many months. Visit your vet for advice on the best products. 
     
  • Clean bedding regularly and vacuum furniture, floors and skirting boards to help destroy fleas.  
     
  • Throw away the dustbag from your vacuum after each.
     
    Dog being treated for fleas © Andrew Forsyth / RSPCA Photolibrary
     
  • Only give your pet flea treatment that has been recommended for it, ideally as prescribed by a vet. Products suitable for one species may not be suitable for another e.g. dog flea treatments contain permethrin, an insecticide that is safe for dogs but highly toxic to cats.


Check for fleas
Ginger cat scratching © IStock Photos / Derausdo

  • Is your pet scratching?
     
  • Can you see tiny dark specks in its fur, or small browny-black insects scurrying about?
     
  • Do you have any unaccounted for insect bites yourself?


If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions – it could mean fleas.


Irritable host

Flea bites can make your pet uncomfortable and itchy but they can also bring a host of other problems...

  • Pets can be hypersensitive to flea saliva and suffer an allergic reaction.
     
  • Fleas feed on blood, so young or frail animals can become weak and even die as a result of blood loss.
     
  • Flea larvae can become infected with tapeworm eggs. If your pet eats an infected flea it can become host to this parasite. If your pet has fleas you should also make sure your pet is treated for worms.
     
  • Fleas can also pass diseases to your pets. For example, myxomatosis is a serious disease in rabbits which can be spread by fleas. 

 

Flea facts
Flea © IStock Photos / Olikim
 

  • It is estimated that 95 per cent of flea eggs, larvae and pupae live in the environment, not on your pet.
     
  • Prevent fleas becoming a problem by regularly treating both your pet and your home. This may need to be done all year round if your home is centrally heated.
     

Download our Keep fleas in check (pdf 368KB) information