by Miriam Kerins
article is written purely as a guideline, and as an
information source only. It is in no way intended to be
used, nor should it ever be used, as a substitute for
professional veterinary advice. If you have any concerns
regarding your animal's health or behaviour, please contact
your local veterinarian without delay.
was head of education at the DSPCA, one of the most
frequently asked questions from those signing up to take
part in my responsible pet care and ownership workshops
usually centred around dealing with canine fleas. And,
while it's true, these pests are more likely to cause
problems during the warm weather, I would always tell
participants that they’re also known to hang around during
the cool season mainly due to their abilities to continue
their life cycle indoors. Ah yes, those dreaded fleas…We can
never, ever underestimate the determination of these little
freeloaders; and, while they can be neutralised, it’s worth
bearing in mind that they are very resilient and have a four
stage cycle making it difficult to get rid of them.
example, did you know that a flea can live in our
environment for over a year without feeding and is protected
by their impenetrable shell? It’s at this stage they
survive most treatments and return to breed and re-populate
year after year; sort of like a series of bad horror movie
sequels. Remember Friday 13th?
warned; one hatched cocoon can produce over a trillion
offspring in her nine month life-span. This army can
continue to fight time and again, causing a serious health
risk to your pet (and in extreme circumstances, anaemia). So
you see, treating your pet is essential for both their good
health and in order to kill any errant fleas entering from
fleas can jump over six feet - yes, you read that
correctly, six feet - and can get into your home via pets
and humans alike. If you’ve got white clothing, like
runners, sports socks, t-shirts; well, they’ll just love
that environment. They’ll likely get into the sitting room
and live there unnoticed and will happily reproduce without
you ever even knowing it…well, not until the problem is at
an advanced stage. So, when treating, it’s best to treat
everywhere; i.e. indoors, outbuildings, garages, sheds, and
dog kennels, etc.
that in mind, when it comes to your canine and their
relationship with fleas, below are some FAQs I’d like to try
and address. However, I will stress again, I am not a
veterinary professional, and it’s imperative pet
parents’ seek expert advice regarding their precious fur
babies’ health and welfare:
Regularly hoover carpets, bedding and furniture – making
sure to get under sofas, beds, tables and into crevices,
etc., and anywhere else your dog spends time; remembering
to immediately dispose of/empty your hoover bag, otherwise
it will act as an incubator for un-hatched fleas. Regular
washing of your dog’s bedding will help.
thrive in shady, protected areas where your dog loves to
rest. Keep an eye on these areas and clean them regularly.
This is important: Seek advice from your vet regarding a
recommendation for safe cleaning products. Keep your
grass short and get rid of any dark, moist heaps like leaves
love malnourished animals because their immune systems are
weak. Make sure your pet has a balanced diet. Consult your
vet for advice regarding proper feeding.
are thousands of species of fleas out there, but there is
usually a specific species that will prefer your dog as a
host, and it is vital that you understand that a dog flea
WILL NOT be able to survive on a human being…so do not
panic. A dog flea may jump onto a human and may bite a
human, but that’s where it will end. A dog flea will not,
nor cannot survive on you, a human being because our
blood is not appealing to them. They prefer to eat canine
blood. I cannot stress that enough. So do not use fleas
as a reason to get rid of your dog! Always consult your
vet for professional advice.
Treatment: However, again, talk to your vet.
Monthly Spot Applications
Treat all dogs in the household at the same time
lovers, if you want your fur baby to be happy and free of
irritation, allergies and infestation, please do not allow
this remorseless enemy to survive in his/her environment.
would always urge you to check with your vet, as a pet
parent myself, it is my belief that prevention is better
than cure, and I personally use a systemic monthly flea
product which dramatically reduces the flea burden in both
mine and my beloved dogs’ environment.
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