While fleas are usually only seen when the weather is warmer, due to us keeping our homes warm in the cold months, fleas can be found all through the year. What you see on your pet is only a very small part of the flea population. Eggs and larvae can actually survive for 12 months in an environment. This means you need to treat your pet as well as the environment. Clean and decontaminate bedding, vacuum carpets and keep the area your pets live in as disinfected as possible. Pet shampoos and flea collars are not enough to keep your pet flea free. The life cycle needs to be broken by keeping the pet and the environment free of the fleas and their spawn. Fleas don’t live on the pets all the time and will often just jump on, feed and then hop off the animal again. Constant flea bites can affect animals with an allergy to the flea saliva and this can result in FAD (Flea Allergy Dermatitis). Consult with your vet should this occur as it can be tricky to treat.
Symptoms of fleas include: biting, scratching and hair loss (often seen at the base of the tail and on the pet’s rump). You may actually see the adult fleas on the pet (often in the groin region and on the rump). You can also check for fleas by rubbing a moistened cotton ball over the skin on the pet’s rump. If it comes back with black specs and a reddish area, this is usually an indication of a flea infestation.
Ensure that you use the correct tick and flea medication for your pets. Many brands meant for dogs can be lethal to cats. Speak to your vet about the best treatment for your pet. Your vet can also advise on environmental treatment as needed.