Fleas are most often seen during the warmer months but as we keep our homes nice and warm throughout winter, we see fleas all year round. Only a small part of the adult flea population actually lives on your pet. The fleas’ eggs and larvae live in the environment and can survive for up to a year, so it is important to not only treat your animal directly for fleas but also decontaminate the environment as well. Wash your pet’s bedding using the hottest cycle and regularly vacuum/clean carpets. We do not recommend flea collars or flea shampoos alone as they fail to address the environmental flea infestation.
Fleas will tend to jump onto your pet only to feed and then jump off again. Dogs and cats can have a reaction to flea saliva resulting in a skin condition called Flea Allergy Dermatitis or FAD. Treatment of FAD can be complicated and veterinary consultation is recommended.
Some signs that your pet may have fleas include:
- Scratching, biting and hair loss, especially at the base of the tail and rump
- You may see fleas (especially over the rump and in the groin region)
- It can be difficult to find the fleas, but is relatively easy to check for flea dirt. Simply moisten a cotton ball, part your pet’s fur and place the cotton ball on the skin over the rump. If the cotton ball takes on black specs surrounded by a reddish area, this may be flea dirt and can indicate that your pet has fleas.
Flea control is now easier than ever. Options available are spot-on applications for cats and dogs; monthly chewable treats and even new chewable treats that protect against fleas and ticks for 3 months for dogs!
Warning: Some non-veterinary brands of flea treatments for dogs are potentially lethal when applied to cats. Always seek veterinary advice about the best flea treatments for your pet.
Please call us to discuss an appropriate flea control program for your pet.
In Western Australia we are fortunate that the paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus) is not found in our state.
The ticks we need to watch out for are the Brown Dog Tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus) and the Bush Tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) both of which can carry disease, infection and cause irritation for your dog.
The easiest way to prevent ticks in dogs is to use either a topical (spot-on) such as Advantix, or a monthly chewable treat such as Nexgard or 3 monthly chewable treat such as Bravecto.