Summary and Feedback

Fleas are small insects that feed on our pets, carry diseases, and even occasionally bite humans. They can cause a lot of distress, especially if pets have an allergy to flea saliva (‘flea allergic dermatitis’ or FAD)

Spotting fleas

The common signs of fleas are excessive itching or grooming, spots of ‘flea dirt’ or even live fleas on your pet. However, fleas do not spend all their time on your pet – they hop off into the house, and this is where they lay their eggs. This means your pet doesn’t have to have an adult flea on them for there to be an infestation – they may, by coincidence, all be in the house instead.

The flea lifecycle

Like a butterfly, fleas have four lifestages. The eggs, larvae (caterpillar) and pupae (cocoon) are all in the house. It can take up to 5 months for an egg to turn into an adult, but can also be much faster. The most variable stage is the well-protected cocoon, as fleas can wait inside for up to 12 weeks until they detect a passing animal.

Getting rid of fleas

People make three big mistakes when they’re trying to get rid of fleas. These are:

  1. Using the wrong product
  2. Using the product incorrectly
  3. Not treating for long enough

To get rid of a flea infestation, all animals in the house need to be treated for 12 weeks, and the house needs treating to get rid of flea eggs and larvae.

Preventing fleas

Fleas are most reliably prevented by using flea-killing medication year round. However, there are environmental and cost concerns with this. In some cases, low-risk pets (such as those kept indoors) may be covered with a combination of repellents, grooming, and treatment of the house.

Next steps

If you have a pet with fleas and you’re struggling to choose a flea product, call your local vet. They can weigh your pet and discuss your flea protection needs.

Goodbye from us

Thank you for taking this course. We hope it’s been useful, and you’re clearer about how to go about getting rid of fleas in your pets. Don’t forget, now you’re enrolled you can come back to this course anytime to check in, remind yourself what’s what, and look for updates.

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