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How To Avoid Fleas On Dogs This Summer

Whilst the British weather is notoriously unpredictable, temperatures will undoubtedly increase across the UK as we move from spring into summer. Although this warmer weather is there to be enjoyed, it can unfortunately bring with it some unwanted hazards for our four-legged friends.

Fleas for example thrive in warm temperatures and high humidity, as these are optimal conditions for reproduction. Similarly, flea pupae which will have remained dormant for many months will start to emerge as temperatures become warmer and vibration stirs their cocoons. With adult fleas able to lay up to 60 eggs a day, the potential for infestations to take hold increases rapidly.

Pet healthcare specialists Bob Martin break down everything you need to know about these pesky parasites with tips on how to avoid fleas on dogs this Summer.

Flea, Two, One, Go!

What actually are fleas?

Fleas are small six-legged insects that live in your pet’s fur, feeding on their blood. These pesky little parasites can lay up to 60 eggs a day, meaning that even one flea on your pet could lead to a nasty infestation in no time.

Whilst adult fleas live on your pet, their eggs, larvae and pupae will be found all over your home including your pet’s bedding, carpets and other soft furnishings. This is why it’s so important to treat both your pet and your home.

How can I tell if my pet has fleas?

An easy to spot sign that your cat/dog may have fleas is excessive scratching. You may also be able to visibly see the little critters when you part your pet’s fur and may even also notice some small black ‘crumbs’; these are actually faeces. You should comb these out of their coat and place them on a damp white paper towel. These black crumbs will then turn reddish-brown as they bleed into the surrounding area. Disgusting, we know!

avoid fleas on dogs

What do I do if I discover a flea infestation?

If you discover a flea infestation it is important to act quickly. As a first response, treat your pet with a flea tablet. These are effective within 15 minutes and kill 100% of fleas on your pet within 24 hours.

Then, treat your home. The fleas you see on your pet only account for 5% of the infestation, the remaining 95% are in your home! Fleas and their eggs fall off your pet’s coat as they move around, lying dormant in your home, often within your soft furnishings such as bedding or blankets.

Use a home flea spray to treat your pet’s bedding, carpets and other soft furnishings. Ensure you select a product that contains an ‘insecticide’ such as Permethrin to kill the fleas, alongside an ‘insect growth regulator’ such as S-methoprene. This will stop the remaining eggs hatching and reinfesting your home.

Top Tip: Make sure that you also hoover the entire house, discarding the contents of the vacuum cleaner immediately in a sealed bag. You should also wash bedding over 40°C to make sure you haven’t missed any of those little blighters.

How do I prevent my pet from getting fleas in the first place?

Unfortunately it’s really easy for fleas to hitch a ride on your four-legged friend. This is especially true in the warmer months when your dog may be spending more time outdoors. However, the good news is there are precautions that you can take!

To help keep your pet flea and tick free, we recommend using an easy to apply spot-on treatment as part of their regular healthcare routine. Again, selecting a product containing S-methoprene will ensure you’re breaking the flea lifecycle by preventing any eggs or larvae from developing. These spot-ons can be found in all major supermarkets and pet specialists, meaning that it couldn’t be easier to pick one up next time you’re doing the weekly shop.

Top Tip: As with any human treatment, make sure you carefully read the instructions and administer any flea products correctly. One common mistake is applying the spot-on to your pet’s coat, rather than parting their fur and applying it directly to their skin.

How often do I need to treat my pet for fleas?

To avoid fleas on dogs, we recommend treating your pet monthly as part of a regular healthcare routine, however it’s important that you carefully read the packaging of whatever product you’re using. Not all flea and tick treatments are the same, with some products lasting longer than others. Some are effective against fleas and ticks, whereas others are not, so it’s important to always check the pack. We also suggest making a note on your calendar of when treatments are due so that you don’t forget.

Top Tip: Just like humans, all cats/dogs have a unique genetic profile, which means that each one of our four-legged friends will have a different level of tolerance to different ingredients. If you find that spot-ons don’t work for you, perhaps explore different treatment and prevention options such as collars or shampoos.

Preparing For Staycation

Getting your dog checked for fleas is usually the last thing on your ‘to-do’ list before going on a dog friendly staycation. However, by doing so, you can ensure your dog is happy and healthy during your holiday and you’re not leaving behind any unwanted visitors. To help you prepare for your next dog friendly staycation, we’ve pulled together this tail-wagging guide.

avoid fleas on dogs

Share Your Top Tips For Staying Flea Free

Do you have any tips or tricks that you’ve found useful during a flea infestation? Share them in the comments below.

For more helpful advice on caring for your pet’s healthcare needs, and tips to avoid fleas on dogs head over to bobmartin.co.uk.

Feeling social? Follow us to flea-dom on Facebook (@BobMartinUK) and Instagram (@bobmartinpets).

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John Burns, founder of Burns Pet Nutrition has been awarded an MBE by Her Majesty The Queen!

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