Prepare for parasites: everything you need to know about fleas and ticks this summer

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10 May 2022
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Whilst the British weather is notoriously unpredictable, temperatures will undoubtedly increase across the UK as we move from spring into summer. Although this warmer weather is there to be enjoyed, it can unfortunately bring with it some unwanted hazards for our four-legged friends in the shape of fleas and ticks.

At Bob Martin, we have been taking care of the little things like fleas and ticks for over 130 years. In this blog we’ll break down everything you need to know about these pesky parasites and give you some handy tips to help keep your cat/dog flea free, tick free and worry free this summer.

Flea, Two, One, Go!

1. What are fleas and ticks?

Fleas are small six-legged insects that live in your pet’s fur, feeding on their blood. These pesky little parasites can lay up to 60 eggs a day, meaning that even one flea on your pet could lead to a nasty infestation in no time.

Ticks on the other hand are small, spider-like creatures that also feed on the blood of animals. They are often picked up on walks or from your pet playing in long grass. Ticks can be more difficult to get rid of than fleas and can transmit a range of harmful diseases.

Top Tip: Whilst adult fleas live on your pet, their eggs, larvae and pupae will be found all over your home including your pet’s bedding, carpets and other soft furnishings. This is why it’s so important to treat both your pet and your home.

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2. How can I tell if my pet has fleas or ticks?

An easy to spot sign that your cat/dog may have fleas is excessive scratching. You may also be able to visibly see the little critters when you part your pet’s fur and may even also notice some small black ‘crumbs’; these are actually faeces. You should comb these out of their coat and place them on a damp white paper towel. These black crumbs will then turn reddish-brown as they bleed into the surrounding area. Disgusting, we know!

Ticks can be tricky to spot, however should be visible when you part your cat/dog’s hair. These little blood-suckers attach to your pet using barbed mouthparts, so will not simply drop off when disturbed and must be removed carefully.

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.

3. What do I do if I discover a flea infestation?

If you discover a flea infestation it is important to act quickly. As a first response, treat your pet with a flea tablet. These are effective within 15 minutes and kill 100% of fleas on your pet within 24 hours.

Then, treat your home. The fleas you see on your pet only account for 5% of the infestation, the remaining 95% are in your home! Fleas and their 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.

Use a home flea spray to treat your pet’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.

Top Tip: 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 blighters.

4. How do I prevent my pet from getting these pesky parasites in the first place?

There are precautions you can take, however unfortunately it’s all too easy for fleas and ticks to hitch a ride on your four-legged friend. This is especially true in the warmer months when your cat/dog may be spending more time outdoors.

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 next time you’re doing the weekly shop.

Top Tip: As with any human treatment, make sure you carefully read the instructions and administer any flea, tick or worming 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.

5. How often do I need to treat my pet for fleas and ticks?

We recommend treating your pet monthly as part of a regular healthcare routine, however it’s important that you carefully read the packaging of whatever product you’re using. 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

Feeling social? Follow us to fleadom on Facebook (@BobMartinUK) and Instagram (@bobmartinpets).