Itching in cats and dogs is most commonly caused by fleas. Some animals are allergic to fleas which makes them even itchier than your average cat or dog. The most common place for your pets to be scratching from fleas is the rump, top of the tail and back legs. Flea control in all pet households is a must, to prevent flea bites in both animals and people.
The lifecycle of the flea is influenced by temperature and humidity- they thrive in warm, humid months so late spring/summer/early autumn are the times where we see an increased level of fleas and scratching animals.
The adult flea spends most of its life on your animal. It lays its eggs on the animal and these fall off into the surrounding environment including kennels, bedding and the carpet. Larvae come out of these eggs 1 week later and turn into pupae and then become an adult flea again, and continue the cycle by jumping back on the animal and feeding. Because these stages occur in the environment it is vital to keep up with regular flea treatments. This will minimise the deposition of eggs into the environment and help to break the life cycle. All pets in the household should be incorporated into the flea treatment programme, even if they are not showing signs of itching as they can still be carrying fleas.
Products available for Flea Control
There are numerous treatments available for flea control including powders, sprays, washes, spot on treatment and collars. Different treatments have different strengths, and some products also incorporate worming control.
We recommend veterinary licensed spot-on treatments or collars. In younger animals we may choose to use a spray. Our most frequently used products are listed below:
* Frontline Spray: Can be used on younger animals and in the environment. Care needs to be taken not to spray younger animals with too much product as it can be toxic. Consult your veterinarian before use. No residual action.
* Frontline Plus: A spot-on product that can last up to 8 weeks on dogs and 6 weeks on cats. It can be used on adults as well as puppies and kittens from 8 weeks old. Also repellent against lice and ticks.
* Advantage: A 4 weekly spot-on treatment. Is water resistent so can be used on animals that swim. Safe to use from one day old.
* Advocate: A 4 weekly spot-on product that kills fleas as well as most intestinal worms, mites, and lice. Animals maintained on advocate will need less frequent worming tablets than other animals. Can be used on puppies from 7 weeks of age and kittens from 9 weeks of age.
* Seresto: A collar which protects dogs against fleas, ticks and lice for up to 8 months. Seresto flea collar is useful in dogs with flea allergy dermatitis or where monthly application may be difficult. Unlike the old style of flea collar it is safe for humans to handle. Safe to use in animals older than 7 weeks.
* Nexgard: A 4 weekly beef flavoured chewable tablet that kills fleas and ticks. For use in dogs only. Can be used in puppies from 8 weeks of age.