Flea prevention: Tips to protect your furry friend from fleas

As the weather gets cooler, many of us may think flea season is over.

However, our heated homes mean they can thrive all year round, so regular preventative treatment is the only way to ensure furry family members are protected from these pesky pests.

PDSA Veterinary Nurse Nina Downing said: “Fleas are tiny insects that live on the skin of our pets, feeding on their blood, and they can be a real pain, both to you and your four-legged friend. Not only can they cause itching and skin irritation, but in rarer cases they can lead to serious illnesses such as anemia.

Prevent fleas

“Treating all your pets regularly with the right flea treatment is the most effective way to ensure they remain flea-free. Ideally, you should use the product recommended by your veterinarian for your pet. remember that products with the most effective ingredients are often only available by prescription, however, if this is not possible, look for vet-recommended products that are available online.

“Whether you choose a one-time treatment such as KRKA’s flea screen or a tablet from your veterinarian, be sure to follow your veterinarian’s advice or the manufacturer’s instructions on how often to administer the product because the frequency treatment may vary.

“Washing your furry friend’s bedding on a hot water and vacuuming your carpets and upholstery will also help eradicate eggs, larvae and pupae from your home.

Spot an infestation

“Some pets may not show any signs of fleas, especially if they are not allergic to them. However, if you notice your furry family member itching, licking and biting their skin more than normal, this could be a sign of an infestation.

“Fleas are normally well hidden, so you’re more likely to spot dirt from fleas than the parasites themselves. To check this, take a comb from behind your pet’s back and hold it against something white, like a piece of damp cotton This will help you spot dirt, which appears as small dark spots, which turn red when they dissolve in water.

How to deal with them

“It’s important to treat any infestation as soon as you spot the signs, as fleas can cause a lot of discomfort for your four-legged family member. It’s best to talk to your vet, who can recommend the best treatment for your pet.

“Even if you only noticed fleas on one of your pets, everyone in the household will need to be treated.

“It’s also important that you treat your home as 95% of fleas live in the environment rather than on your pet. You can eliminate them by using a household flea spray around your home – repeat this frequently as the Flea eggs can survive for years if left untreated.

“Make sure pets are well away from the spray and strictly follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Some household sprays may contain permethrin, so be especially careful if using sprays in homes with cats, as it is toxic to them.

“If your pet has fleas, it’s also important to check that they are up to date on their deworming treatments. Fleas can carry tapeworm larvae, so when your pet swallows fleas while grooming, they can develop tapeworms in their stomach.

PDSA is the UK’s largest veterinary charity providing a vital service to pets across the UK whose owners struggle to pay the cost of treating their sick and injured animals.

For many vulnerable pets, PDSA is there to help their owners when they have nowhere to turn.

People’s Postcode Lottery player support helps us reach even more pet owners with vital tips and information. www.pdsa.org.uk.