Now that peak flea season is over it’s time to relax and forget about fleas and ticks until next year, right? Wrong! As the UK temperature drops and you start to put the central heating on, dormant flea eggs, larvae and pupae lurking in your home will start to come back to life.
These creepy critters can survive inactive for long periods of time lurking in your cat’s bedding, carpets and other soft furnishings. The heat and vibration from the central heating system will then stir them into action, ready to reinfest both your pet and your home.
Pet healthcare experts Bob Martin, are here to help you avoid a Halloween Horror Show with some helpful hints and tips to keep those blood-sucking parasites at bay all year round.
We all know how frightening it can be to discover a flea on your pet or in your home. The scariest part is that for every flea you see, there are nearly 20 eggs, larvae or pupae that are practically invisible to the naked eye. Fleas can lay up to 60 eggs a day, meaning that even one little monster on your pet could lead to a nasty infestation in no time.
What to do if you discover a flea infestation
Discovering a flea infestation can be scary stuff, so it’s important to act quickly and treat your cat with a flea tablet. These are easy to administer and are effective within 15 minutes, killing 100% of fleas on your pet within 24 hours.
For many pet owners the most common mistake is not also treating the home, which can lead to a haunted house in no time. The fleas you see on your pet only account for 5% of the infestation, the remaining 95% are in your home! Flea 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. These creepy critters hatch into larvae, hiding away in dark corners and even between floorboards. Flea pupae enclose themselves in a protective cocoon making them harder to kill and will emerge as fully-grown bloodthirsty adult fleas, ready to reinfest your pet.
Break the spell
It's important to break the flea lifecycle by using a home flea spray to treat your cat’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.
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 suckers.
There is no magic wand to eliminate fleas and ticks forever, however regular spot-on treatments are the next best thing. 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 alongside your supply of chocolates and sweets for the trick or treaters.
Top Tip: As with any human treatment, make sure you carefully read the instructions and administer the 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.
Tick or treat?
Tick numbers in the UK have steadily been on the rise, with an astonishing 76% of dogs travelling abroad returning with one of these unwanted hitch-hikers. So if you’re thinking of taking the dog away for some winter sun, make sure that you’re extra vigilant. Ticks are often picked up on walks, particularly in long grass and can be more difficult to spot than fleas and can transmit a range of harmful diseases.
The sooner a tick can be removed, the less risk that your pet will get infected. We recommended you buy a tick removal tool, allowing you to twist and lift the tick off entirely, including the head.
Top Tip: Check your cat/dog regularly by thoroughly combing through their fur in both directions. Pay particular attention to their armpits, groin, ears and neck areas. Don’t forget to check between their toes and other tricky-to-reach spots.
Keep up the ritual
The best way to keep those blood suckers away isn’t a crucifix over the door or a well-placed bulb of garlic; the best way to prevent fleas and ticks to treat your pet regularly monthly as part of their ongoing healthcare routine.
To avoid any spooky surprises, it’s crucial that you carefully read the packaging of whatever product you’re using as 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.
For more helpful advice on caring for your pet’s healthcare needs, head over to bobmartin.co.uk
About Bob Martin
For over 130 years, Bob Martin have been helping take care of the little things (and we don’t just mean fleas and ticks) that pet owners love most about life with their pets.
Bob Martin continue to help pet owners keep their pets healthy and free from fleas, ticks and worms; making vet-quality products available and affordable, without compromising on quality.
With Bob Martin’s range of treatment and prevention products, it couldn’t be easier to say goodbye to pesky parasites. Offering a comprehensive range of products for both pet and home, Bob Martin’s products are regulated and approved by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate. This means you can have added peace of mind that they are not only safe, but also effective.
Bob Martin can be found in pet aisles of all major supermarkets, pet specialists and independent pet retailers, and is now available to order direct from bobmartin.co.uk.