The temperatures have certainly dropped in the past week. Heaters and fires may have made their return into your household, making for warmer and cosier homes. Unfortunately fleas also love warm and humid conditions. These pesky parasites have plagued the earth and their furry inhabitants for centuries, however thanks to advances in veterinary medicine, we now know how best to stop them in their tracks.

Protecting your pet from fleas is one of the most important things you can do for their overall health and wellbeing, so below we outline how best to beat the (sometimes what seems like a never ending) flea issue.

Year-round problem

Firstly, it’s a common misconception that fleas disappear during the cooler months of the year. Yes, fleas love the warmer months of summer and spring, however if your pet brings fleas into your cosy home in winter, they will relish being there – as a warm home is the ideal breeding environment.

Treating your pet year-round and on a regular basis is integral to good flea control and this is because fleas have an amazing life cycle and powerful breeding power. Simply put, the adult fleas you actually see on your pet – maybe 20 or less – are only the tip of the iceberg. Each female flea can lay between 10-50 eggs per day, with a lifetime total of up to several thousand. A new generation of fleas emerge every few weeks and even if you think you don’t ‘see’ any fleas, your pet’s fleas actually never really went away. The ‘new’ infestation is likely another generation of the original batch, still thriving because the life cycle was never broken.

Invisible parasites

Did you know, 95 % of the flea population exists in the home environment (carpets, furniture, bedding or outside in the garden or park), while just 5 % may be observed on our pets.  So, not seeing fleas on your pets doesn’t mean they aren’t a problem in your household. Regularly vacuuming and washing of pets bedding can help fight a flea problem, but often ‘flea bombs’ are needed to kill the fleas living in your carpet and floorboards.  It is also highly important to treat all your pets, not just those you think have fleas.

How best to treat fleas:

There is a comprehensive range of treatment options available, both for your pet and for your home.  Treatment regimes have changed in recent years in terms of application and duration of protection.  Historically, it was common to treat monthly, now, 3 and 6 monthly options are available, with ‘spot-ons’ for cats and ‘treats’ for dogs.

There is also a range of sprays and ‘bombs’ that you can use around your home to reduce the flea burden in your pets environment

Top tips to prevent fleas during winter:

  • Treat with a reliable brand from your Vet Clinic.
  • The best way to prevent a flea infestation is to treat ALL your pets, all-year-round.
  • Use the recommended size range for each pet.
  • Vacuum carpets/floors and wash pets bedding on a regular basis.
  • Always apply or give the treatment correctly.
  • Re-treat according to manufactures instructions.

Choosing the right treatment for your pet can be confusing. That’s where we can help. We have excellent knowledge of the treatment options available and are here to help you to find the best one for your pet. So come visit us and speak with one of our fully trained vet nurses or veterinarians at Tauranga, Te Puna, Katikati, Papamoa Village Vets.