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flea infestations

How does a flea infestation start?

Fleas are tiny parasites that survive by feeding on your pet. They are wingless and travel by jumping from animals to find the next source of food.

A new adult flea finds a host (your cat or your dog) to feed on. After feeding on your pet’s blood and breeding, the adult female flea will then proceed to lay hundreds of eggs in your pet’s coat. These eggs will fall from your pet into the household environment – particularly where your pet spends a lot of its time (such as its bed or the sofa). The eggs hatch into larvae, before developing into pupae. The pupae then develop into adult fleas which look for a host and start the life cycle again.

How to spot a flea infestation

As cat and dog fleas are tiny, they may be difficult to spot. Many people are unaware that they have fleas living and breeding in their home until they are bitten. You are unlikely to spot one flea, but once an infestation has taken hold, you may see multiple fleas jumping from your furniture or curtains.

  • Look for multiple fleas jumping from curtains or furniture or your bed
  • Look for black or brown dots in your pet’s fur. These could be actual insects or flea dirt
  • Observe your pet’s behaviour – are they scratching or biting excessively? Dogs tend to bite or scratch towards the base of the tail. In cats, you may notice overgrooming.

How to treat a flea infestation

Treat your pet

Use a trusted flea treatment product such as Advantage Spot-on or Frontline Plus. Some products repel fleas, and some prevent fleas from staying alive in your pet’s fur. Preventing adult fleas from laying eggs helps to break the flea breeding cycle.

Treat your home

Vacuum carpets and curtains and dispose of the bag carefully. You may need to use an insecticide spray for the home, targeting carpets and soft furnishings. Wash all bedding including dog beds and anywhere your cat may have been sleeping.

You may not immediately notice the problem

Unhatched flea’s eggs are able to stay dormant for months and will hatch under the right conditions. This will often occur when central heating has been turned on. Fleas also carry and transmit tapeworm; therefore, continued parasite treatment is essential for protecting your pet year-round.

Protect My Pet can help

Join our pack today from just £6.49 a month and our vet team will deliver your pet’s branded flea and worm treatment direct to your door, exactly when it’s due. Delivery is always free and there is no contract so you can change, pause or cancel at any time.