October 20, 2023
Finding a flea on your pet is horrible – but knowing the lifecycle of the flea can help you get rid of them, and also explain why you can sometimes see them on pets regularly treated with anti-parasitic medication.
Fleas only jump onto the pet to feed – the rest of their lifecycle is in the environment. Most flea products work when the flea feeds and will either kill the flea before it can lay eggs or stop any eggs laid reaching adulthood – whilst this is an invaluable tool in the fight against them, it is not the only response needed when you do see an adult flea on your pet.
Flea pupae can take up to 2 months (in ideal conditions) to develop into adult fleas so it can be normal to see adult fleas appearing on a correctly treated pet for 2-3 months after initial treatment.
So what should you do when you discover fleas?
1) Reduce levels of fleas in the home environment:
Wash all pet bedding weekly at a minimum of 50 degrees Celsius.
Invest in a good quality household flea spray but BEFORE you use it: increase humidity and vibrations (this will trigger pupal stage of flea life cycle to hatch) – this can be done by hanging up wet towels to dry overnight and vacuuming carpets thoroughly before spraying.
2) Ensure all household pets are treated with veterinary strength anti-parasitic medication and follow the dosage instructions provided carefully.
We also recommend that any pets found with live fleas are treated for tapeworm. Fleas can carry a bacteria (Bartonella) which is transmissible to humans causing ‘Cat scratch disease’ AND can carry tapeworm eggs. If any human members of the household start to feel unwell, it is recommended to see your doctor and mention flea infestation.
You may need to repeat all of these steps to ensure that all eggs are eradicated.
The recent unseasonable humid weather we experienced will have been an ideal breeding ground for fleas so remain vigilant and unfortunately with central heating, the danger never really goes away!