Recently I’ve joined a Facebook group called “Ask It, Answer It Bunbury” to see if I can give a bit of useful pet care advice to people in the group. One of the questions that keep coming up is “How do I get rid of fleas”.
Now this is a question we get every day at our clinics too, and it’s something every pet owner should know. So here are our top 7 flea control tips:
- Environmental control is essential. Fleas are nest parasites. That means that at any one time, 5% of your pets fleas are on your pet, the other 95% are in the environment. This means you either need to use a flea control product on your pet that controls environmental fleas, or you need to treat the environment. This is done with a combination of hot washing bedding, regular vacuuming and sprays in sandy areas and gardens
- Flea baths and collars don’t work. Flea baths are very good at killing fleas on the pet. But as we mentioned above, that’s only 5% of the flea population. The other 95% are there ready to jump straight back on. Collars are also very ineffective, as they cover the front of the animal very well but the back end, where most of the fleas live, is left unprotected
- Not all spot-on products are equal. Many cheaper brands are pyrethrum based so are quickly deactivated by sunlight. This means they may not be effective for even a week after application. Pyrethrums are also very toxic to cats so care needs to be taken with these products
- You need to treat all your pets. Many people treat their dog but forget about the cat. The cat then keeps bringing fleas back home when it roams around, meaning the house is never flea-free
- Regular treatment is essential. You should be using flea control products monthly or as directed. Fleas are a year-round problem, so you need to control them constantly
- Use a good quality flea control product. We recommend two products. For most pets, Activyl (a new generation of spot-on product) is easy to use and very effective. For dogs which swim a lot, get bathed frequently or have certain skin issues we recommend Comfortis, which is a tablet form of flea control. Both these products are very effective, last at least a month, and control fleas in the environment
- Call us for free advice. We always have qualified, experienced nurses on reception, so if you have a question about flea control give us a call or drop in and we’ll work out which product is best for you and your pet. It’s often the advice which comes with the products that makes the control program successful.