Fleas & Ticks

Fleas are one of the most common parasites caught by dogs. It is thought that every dog will suffer an infestation at some point in their lives. Often there are few or no visible signs but you may see your pet scratching and biting at the infested areas. Fleas may also cause Flea Allergy Dermatitis in some pets which can cause a lot of distress and even bacterial infections to develop if the infestation is not death with. It is important to maintain an effective flea control regime even if your pet lives indoors - it only takes contact with one infected animal to pass the infestation on to your pet and into your home.

Fleas also provide a health risk to humans as they will often bite when the pet is not available to feed on. This can provoke a skin reaction which varies from small red pimples to painful weeping swelling. Fleabites on humans should be treated as any other insect bites.

Once fleas are on your pet, the population can increase very rapidly.  An adult flea will lay up to 50 eggs a day which are spread around the house by your pet. The eggs hatch after 2-10 days in larvae which relocate towards the dark areas in your house, such as deep in the carpet pile and along skirting boards. After 7-18 days the larvae pupate and create a protective cocoon in which they develop in adults. The adult fleas hatch after 5-14 days, triggered by vibrations or carbon dioxide produced by a passing host. However they can survive for up to 9 month waiting for a trigger. A flea can hatch from its cocoon, jump on a passing pet and be feeding within 7 seconds! They will begin to lay eggs within 48 hours. Adult fleas live an average of 50 days unless they are killed by an insecticide or swallowed by the pet. The entire life cycle can be as short as 2-4 weeks depending on temperature and humidity.

Treating fleas on your pet alone may not resolve the problem.  There may be up to 200 eggs and larvae in your house for every flea you see on your pet. Treating your pet with an environmental product that can kill the immature stages can break the flea cycle in two places and helps to prevent re-infestation.

Fleas are also a carrier of tapeworms, so it is very important to maintain an effective worm control regime. If your pet has been in contact with fleas, they could also be carrying tapeworms. 

Ticks are a common cause of disease in pets.  Ticks are mainly found in rural areas, particularly moorland and woodland where there is heavy undergrowth, and can affect your pet all year round. Diseases carried by ticks include the bacterial infection Lyme Disease, which affects both dogs and humans. Ticks can be removed using a tick remover but this must be done with care as the mouthparts can cause infections if they are left in the skin. The most effective treatment is to use a medicine designed to prevent infection, such as Frontline, on a regular basis. You must beware as many flea and tick treatments sold in supermarkets and pet stores have little proven efficacy.