At some point in their lives, your pet will almost certainly get fleas! Did you know a flea can jump up to 200 times the length of their own body! If you see fleas on your pet, you are only viewing 5% of your flea problem, the other 95% is in the environment. Although as the weather gets colder, flea burdens normally decrease, but due to central heating, fleas are now a year-round problem.
A flea’s life cycle lasts on average 21 days and has four stages – adult fleas, eggs, larvae, pupae. Fleas can be picked up from contact with infected animals or environments, you can even bring flea eggs home on your clothing. Adult fleas live 7-14 days, feeding on the pet several times a day with a female flea consuming up to 15 times her own bodyweight in blood daily. Adult females lay their eggs on the pet's fur and these then fall off into the animal's bedding, furniture and carpets. Larvae hatch and move away from the light into dark areas, burrowing deep into carpet pile or even gaps between floorboards. They spin cocoons and grow into adult fleas as pupae before hatching out when stimulated by warmth or vibration in the surrounding environment. You could move into a house which has been empty for a year and suddenly find it becomes alive with fleas!
Not sure if your pet has fleas? Here is a simple test – run a fine tooth comb through your pet’s fur and place the contents on a damp sheet of white paper. Flea dirt will show as little blacks spots which bleed red onto the paper. If your pet has fleas, it is essential to treat the house as well as your pet. There are many different forms of flea treatment available from spot-ons to tablets so talk to your vet to find the best product for you. Fleas can carry tapeworms so if your pet has fleas, be sure to make sure they are up to date with worming as well.
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