Summer flea season spells trouble for pets

 April is flea-prevention month at Petmania Waterford

Whilst the sunshine is a welcome reminder that summer is on its way, it brings with it a very unwelcomed guest for pet owners. Fleas are tiny parasites that live in pets’ coats and thrive in Ireland from the month of April to the end of September. With the warmer days fleas start to breed more rapidly outdoors when the ambient temperature hits 21oC.  The warmer it gets, the faster they breed.

These minute insects cause pain for pets when they bite and produces a skin irritant for many dogs and cats. If left untreated animals can suffer hair loss, discomfort and lethargy. Petmania Waterford wants to highlight some tips to prevent a flea infestation and help pet parents spot the early signs of fleas and show them how to treat it.

 Some of the signs of fleas include:

  • Obsessive Itching – Scratching is one of the most common signs that a dog or cat may have fleas.
  • Flea Dirt – the “flea dirt” left behind looks similar to cracked black pepper and can be seen when you part the hair.
  • Chewing Around the Tail or Hind Legs – this a common area where fleas congregate and animals often may be trying to bite themselves if they have fleas
  • Visible Insects – Although tiny, fleas are a dark reddish-brown colour and can be visible on lighter coloured coats, particularly if the pet has a lot of fleas.
  • Patchy Hair Loss – particularly around the back of the neck or the tail
  • Loss of Energy – especially in cases of extreme infestation.

Craig Power from Petmania Waterford explains, 

“Knowing a little more about fleas, and how they like to live, will help pet owners protect their pets from parasites. If your pet has a bad infestation of fleas, make an appointment to visit your vet however, thankfully, in most cases, getting rid of fleas is reasonably straightforward. It will take a little work and our pet-care specialist are always on-hand to help.”

Petmania’s top five things to know about fleas:

  1. Fleas can’t fly, but they can hop up to 18 centimetres, which is how they move around so quickly.
  2. Fleas can live in carpets, bedding, clothing and upholstery as well as on your pet’s coat.
  3. Fleas don’t just like dogs or cats, they will also nibble on other pets, as well as humans.
  4. A fully grown adult flea will measure about 3mm, while their larvae can be up to 5mm, making them tricky to spot without careful examination.
  5. It’s estimated that for every one adult flea, there are about 100 immature ones nearby.

Petmania recommends the following steps to treat a flea infestation: 

  • Prevention is the best method. The simplest way to protect your dog or cat from getting fleas is to use a regular preventative treatment which can be applied to your pet’s coat once a month.
  • Treat your animal with a spot-on treatment, like Fleatix, that will kill the parasite.
  • Using a flea comb to brush through the coat to remove dead fleas, larvae and eggs.
  • Bathing your dog in a skin soothing tea-tree oil shampoo can help the skin and promote healing.
  • Treat areas of the home to kill any fleas, eggs or larvae that may be present. Wash or replace pet’s bedding. Vacuuming all carpets, furniture and soft furnishings where pets have been sitting or sleeping.

There are several products available to treat both pet and home from further infestations. The pet care specialists at Petmania Waterford are happy to advise over the phone or instore, where strict social guidelines are in place, and deliver nationwide.

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