Parasite threat for pets after garden wildlife booms over lockdown

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02 November 2020
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Foxes, badgers and rodents coming into our back gardens in greater numbers could be bringing dangerous fleas and ticks into our homes.

Throughout lockdown, the nation has enjoyed a greater abundance of wildlife in our back gardens. However, leading pet care brand Bob Martin, is raising concerns over the dangerous implications this could have for pets and homes nationwide. 

Lockdown saw the UK spending spring and summer at home, making the most of gardens and outside space. Across the nation, we were inspired to use this opportunity to reconnect with nature and encourage wildlife back into our lives, creating havens for hedgehogs, badgers, foxes, weasels, mice and birds alike.

According to recent data, wildlife sightings in the UK jumped by a record 59 percent compared to the previous year. With cities and towns less congested, sightings of a number of species rarely seen in urban areas have become increasingly common.

In the UK, conservationists have found hedgehogs, stoats, foxes, badgers and deer have all taken advantage of there being fewer humans about. But for Aurelie Gayraud, Senior Brand Manager at Bob Martin, the welcome wildlife boom has also brought with it some unwanted hitch-hikers too.

Aurelie comments: “Although it’s excellent to see a boom in wildlife across the UK, pet owners should be extra vigilant when it comes to pets coming into contact with wild animals and be aware of the subsequent risks of fleas and ticks, which often come with them.”

MSD Animal Health Club’s research on 1,475 pets found one in four cats (28 %) and one in seven dogs (14.4%) were infested with fleas. And in the Big Tick Project, nearly one in three dogs were found to have ticks (2,181 out of 7,102 dogs).

With such high rates of contamination already abundant prior to lockdown, Bob Martin is warning pet-owners to exercise both caution and action against fleas and ticks and the diseases they carry, whilst also keeping our gardens friendly for wildlife.

Aurelie Gayraud continues: “Fleas and ticks love shady and humid areas with long grass. And if you’ve got any wild mammals paying you a visit, coming into contact with your pets, you’ll likely have the ideal breeding ground for the pesky critters.

“Therefore, prevention is the first course of action. Make sure you’re regularly making use of spot-ons or flea collars for your animals. You should also check your pet’s fur regularly. Run your fingers through their coat and check primarily behind their ears, paws and around their neck.

“If you’ve identified that your pet is suffering from ticks or fleas, treatment  is necessary to avoid complications and even dangerous disease. As a first port of call, treat them with Bob Martin Clear Flea Tablets which start killing fleas within 15 minutes, available for both cats and dogs. Follow this with a Bob Martin Clear Plus Spot On treatment, which will kill both fleas and ticks and also flea eggs to break the flea life cycle.

“Few pet owners are aware that fleas also carry worms. It is essential, if you’ve spotted a flea infestation, that you treat them with Bob Martin Clear Wormer Tablets to ensure there are no other nasty surprises.

“If your pet has suffered from a flea infestation, it’s likely that it has spread to your home. Surprisingly, 95% of fleas are found in the home! Only 5% of fleas are actually found on your pet.

“Once your dog or cat has been treated, wash your pet’s bedding over 40 degrees and spray any soft furnishings with a home Flea Spray. Our sprays at Bob Martin have a lasting effect, so they keep working for longer. Make sure to re-spray the home after a few days too. Steam hard floors and tiles, and don’t forget to move the furniture.”