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A Control Plan to Give Fleas the Flick

Summer’s warm conditions enable fleas to complete their full lifecycle from eggs to adulthood in as little as 2 weeks. As a result, flea numbers are at their highest in summer; so it’s best to be proactive about flea control by practicing prevention methods in the spring. However, while preventative treatments such as Revolution are an important aspect of a flea control plan, they should be used to in conjunction with other flea control methods, to really give fleas the flick. It’s important to understand the flea lifecycle, so you can put multiple preventative methods into practice to effectively control fleas.

First Flea

Although fleas don’t actually jump from one host to another; your pet is at risk of contracting fleas if they have been in the same area, such as a park or yard, as another animal with fleas. This is because adult fleas residing in their host animal’s fur, lay eggs which fall from the animal’s body into the surrounding environment. So if your pet later visits the same area, those fleas might have reached adulthood and may jump onto your pet, so your furry friend becomes the fleas’ host. Check your pet for fleas daily so you can modify your flea control plan, before they become a serious infestation. 

Flea Infestation

Fleas lay hundreds of eggs, which means that the majority of the population doesn’t live on your pet, but in the surrounding environment; in particular your pet’s bedding, or places where they send lots of their time such as cracks and crevices in your home or the garden. The eggs hatch as larvae into the immediate surroundings, then develop into pupae before maturing to adulthood, when they jump onto host animals, usually our pets, continuing their life cycle. As such, it is very important to combat fleas at all life stages; breaking the cycle to prevent reinfestation. The best way to tackle a flea infestation it to act early in the spring, while flea numbers are low, before the population escalates in the summer. Take advantage of the spring cleaning season to control your pet’s fleas; by washing their bedding weekly and vacuuming rooms where they reside, daily. This will help to physically remove fleas in the pre-adult stages from your pet’s environment. 

Reinfestation

If your pet had fleas in the past and you treated them with a flea shampoo such as Fido’s Fre-Itch Rinse Concentrate, it would have been effective at the time of washing but it would have had no residual effect. So unless this product was used in combination with others as part of a flea control program, your pet is at risk of redeveloping fleas. Fleas in the pupae stage may remain dormant around the home for up to 12 months, especially in rooms that have been left dormant for a period of time. If you have had a room closed during the cooler months and you are beginning to use the room again over the spring, you or your pet’s warmth and movement in the room may cause the dormant fleas to stir. Once stirred they will re-commence development into adulthood, jumping onto the closest host, most likely your pet, biting and latching on to feed from their blood.  To stop reinfestation, continue flea prevention year round. If your prevention practices are inconsistent; for example, if you miss a monthly dose of flea prevention treatment, the fleas you conquered previously will take the opportunity to reinfest. 

Breaking the Cycle

It’s a great idea to use a flea treatment product with environmental parasiticidal activity, such as Advantage, which will penetrate your pet’s environment, killing flea larvae to reduce the chance of reinfestation. Some treatments, such as Frontline Plus, contain an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) which prevents flea development in three different life stages, up to 8 weeks post treatment. However, IGRs which stop fleas from developing into adulthood don’t always kill adult fleas. Egg-laying adult fleas found on your pet should be killed with an adulticide, such as Comfortis. Comfortis Chewable Tablets are meat flavoured and they start to kill fleas within 30 minutes of administration, killing most of your pet’s fleas within 4 hours. There are many great flea treatment options available that combat fleas at different life cycle stages. The most effective way to control your pet’s fleas is to identify what combination of recommended methods will work best for your personal situation.


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