Flea Prevention & Treatment

Fleas are prevalent all year around in the Cherrybrook area, but particularly flourish during the warmer months of the year. It can be extremely frustrating trying to eradicate fleas from your pet and the environment. This is because fleas have evolved to be one of the toughest parasites around.

A lot of people use flea treatments only during spring and summer or treat their pet when fleas can be observed on their pet. Unfortunately this can lead to inadequate control and the impression that flea products are not working, when in fact it is usually just a lapse of a single treatment that has led to the outbreak in the first place.

So why can’t I just use a flea treatment when I can see a flea?
A female flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day and more than 500 fleas can hatch from a 40cm2 area of carpet. They are microscopic, meaning you can not see the eggs or larvae in the environment, but they are there! The eggs hatch within 1 to 10 days of being laid, develop into larvae, and then pupate.

Young adult fleas in cocoons can take up to 6 months to emerge, so the life cycle can take up to 6 months to complete. This means that if a single flea treatment is missed, you have the potential for an outbreak in your environment for 6 months.

How do I treat a flea infestation in my pet?
If you see fleas in the coat of your pet, or in your house, then treating your pet alone is not enough. You need to use flea treatment for your pet AND something to kill the fleas in the environment.

1)    Treating your pet for fleas

In the 1980’s flea powders, flea shampoos and flea collars were very useful against fleas but unfortunately due to resistance to these products, they are now virtually useless. The range of products has grown and there have been major advances made in the past few years. Our practice recommends 

  • Bravecto flea and tick chews for dogsReleased in 2015, this product is every effective against fleas and is probably without peer for effective prevention against paralysis ticks. It is administered as an oral chewable tablet (given with a full meal) which is given once every 3 months for flea and paralysis tick control. There is a very similar product available called NexGard which is equally effective but is given monthly.
  • Bravecto Spot-on for dogs- equally effective as the chews but lasts for 6 months.
  • Bravecto Cat Spot-on will control fleas and ticks for 3 months and Bravecto Cat Plus Spot-on will also cover intestinal worms (given 2 monthly).

Interesting Flea Facts

  • Once on a dog, cat or human, fleas begin to feed within a minute
  • Female fleas increase their body weight by 40% during first hour
  • It takes less than a second for a flea to emerge from its cocoon and jump onto a host
  • Fleas can leap a distance of 48cm and as high as 17cm (or 150 times their body length!)
  • Flea dirt can remain in the coat for a long time (up to 6 months) and therefore it is not indicative of an active infection
  • It is very difficult to treat the environment outside as the pupae can bury themselves up to 10cm below the ground which are not touched by environmental sprays