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Flea Problems In Summer

Some pet owners will already have had the unfortunate luck to discover that fleas are a problem throughout all year round, but some may not. Micro-climates in homes, gardens and parks allow them to survive during the coldest winters; however fleas are a bigger issue in summer as warmth and humidity can speed up their life cycle. An abundance of wildlife also contributes to the flea population your pets are exposed to outdoors. These factors increase the risk of developing a flea infestation within your home during warmer months.

It’s important to know the difference between ‘hitch-hiker’ fleas and a home infestation. The adult fleas seen on pets come directly from the environment – such as an infested home, garden or park. They hatch from cocoons hidden in the environment and jump straight onto your pet. If these cocoons are from a source outside the home, then the fleas seen on your pet are known as ‘hitch-hikers’. Provided you are treating all cats and dogs in your home throughout the year with a product like FRONTLINE® Spot On, hitch-hikers will be killed before they lay the eggs that would contaminate your home. However, if the fleas are coming from cocoons hidden within your home, then you have a home infestation and this needs further treatment.

Have you ever wondered what do dog fleas look like? Take a look below.

Because the flea life cycle is sped up during summer, if you’re not treating all pets regularly, hitch-hikers from external infestations will survive on pets and start laying hundreds of eggs. These eggs are not sticky and fall out of the fur wherever your pet wanders. The eggs hatch into tiny larvae that crawl away from light settling deep into carpets, between floorboards and underneath furniture. Larvae then spin cocoons and begin transforming into adult fleas. Cocoons hatch when stimulated by vibration and fleas jump directly onto the new host from the environment.

Home infestations can occur regardless of how clean your home is – the only way to prevent a home infestation is to treat all pets regularly throughout the year.

Did You Know…

If you have a home flea infestation, the fleas that are currently hatching from their cocoons and jumping onto your pets were laid anywhere from 1 to 12 months before you see them. This is why using a flea control product once or twice on a pet will not resolve a home flea infestation overnight. This is also why reapplying a long-acting product in less than 1 month will not solve the problem any faster. You need to keep applying treatment to all the pets every month until all the cocoons have hatched out. Once the home infestation is resolved, you need to continue treatment in order to prevent re-infestation.

Fleas don’t normally jump from one animal onto another. The fleas that you see on your pet have hatched out from cocoons in an infested environment and jumped straight onto your pet.

There is no product that stops fleas from jumping on to a treated animal. This is why you may see fleas on a pet after applying a flea product. The product will kill the adult fleas once they have jumped on but this can take up to 24 hours.

The average flea will live for up to 10 days after it has jumped on to a pet. FRONTLINE kills adult fleas within 24 hours of them jumping on.

Fleas are not the only thing that can cause pets to itch and scratch. If you are not seeing fleas on your pet but it is still scratching, you should speak to your vet about other causes. Regardless of the cause of the scratching, all itchy pets should be treated throughout the year for fleas as fleas may make some other causes of itchiness worse.

Breaks in protection (even during winter, a time pet owners may have thought flea problems didn’t occur) allow hitch-hikers to survive on pets and contaminate your home with eggs. During winter the life cycle is slower and cocoons in the home are not hatching frequently – you won’t realise an infestation is developing. By the time summer comes around, the flea population hidden in your home will be extensive and your pets will consistently be covered in fleas. You may even find that you’re being bitten around the ankles.

Prevention is definitely better than cure when it comes to flea treatment. For more information on how to protect your pet from fleas throughout the year and to sign up receive free email or SMS flea treatment reminders, please visit www.hugyourpet.co.uk. Plus, for your chance to win a personalised Emma Bridgewater pet bowl simply upload a picture of your cat or dog into our monthly competition at www.hugyourpet.co.uk

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