As we move into the summer months one of the most common problems for our pets (and in turn for ourselves) is fleas. The warm temperatures and high humidity are ideal conditions for fleas to breed and cause an infestation.
The ideal temperature for fleas to flourish is within the 20 to 26 degree range, but they can live in cooler and warmer temperatures as well. The worst seasons for fleas runs from May through to September.
There are several different species of fleas in the UK but the common cat flea, ctenocephalides felis, is one of the most familiar species of flea in the world and the most likely that you have seen. A cat flea will measure about 1-2mm long. They are parasites that infest the coats of cats, feeding on their blood and quickly reproducing and laying eggs on your pet’s body. Although they’re a separate species to the dog flea, cat fleas are actually the most common flea found on dogs too
Unfortunately cat fleas are not fussy and will also bite humans as well cats and dogs, although luckily they do not live on the human body. There are usually many more fleas living in carpets and pet bedding than on the pets themselves.
SIGNS OF FLEAS
- Fleas are normally reddy-brown and about 2mm long.
- Check the head and neck of your cat or the hind-quarters of your dog. These are the areas that are targeted and where you might see signs of flea activity.
- Carefully look at your pet’s skin for fine black droppings. This is ‘flea dirt’ or adult flea faeces and looks like ground black pepper. A good way to spot it is to use a flea comb over a sheet of white paper, which makes it easier to see the small black specks.
There are several ways to help prevent a Flea infestation by regularly vacuuming carpets, furnishings and cracks and crevices to remove fleas and their eggs. Extra care must be taken when emptying the vacuum cleaner, as the fleas will carry on living inside the machine if untreated. Shake and beat out rugs and pets bedding outdoors.
Extremely high heat can destroy fleas, as well as their eggs. If you’re suffering from a flea infestation, washing and drying your pet’s bedding on high heat is a helpful method to kill them.
Once the temperature falls below freezing for several days in a row, adult fleas will die from the cold. However, the eggs, larva, and pupa are more robust and may not get destroyed. They will go dormant, and when temperatures rise again, those fleas will begin to look for a host.
At Healthguard our technicians are experts in the treatment of fleas and preventing re-infestation so if you suspect that you have fleas Call Us Now on 01522 869500