fleas in the house
Fleas in the house | Flea treatment for cats | Flea treatment for dogs

Fleas in your house?

If you have fleas in the house you are not alone. As the weather gets warmer fleas quickly spread, affecting both your cat, your dog and you. It is not difficult to get rid of fleas in the house provided you follow a few simple steps for effective treatment of the problem.

flea treatments

 

I've got fleas in my house!

In recent years the UK has seen a rapid increase in the number of flea infestations in homes and houses.

The solution to getting rid of fleas from your house or home is actually quite straightforward.

What exactly are fleas?

There are some 1000 species of fleas in the world. These fleas are parasites feeding on the blood of warm blooded animals.

Human fleas are quite rare in the UK and surveys show that the vast majority of infestations in houses are cat fleas, which are often actually found on dogs as well. Bird fleas present the rest of the problem.

Without a microscope or similar it is very difficult to tell one flea species from another.

The cycle of flea development is as follows:

It takes about 4-10 days for the eggs hatch into tiny white larvae which then initially feed on the dust and droppings of the adult fleas.

After about 4-10 weeks the larvae progress to the adult flea stage.

It is believed that the adult flea lives about 2 years.

 

Where are fleas to be found in my house?

Fleas have become so much more prevalent because humans are making it so much easier for them. Normally fleas will probably die off in colder conditions, but of course with the advent of central heating conditions in our houses are now so much more comfortable for them to survive and breed even more fleas - a big problem for us, our cats and our dogs. The warmer and more humid the atmosphere, the quicker the fleas will proliferate.

Cat fleas do not generally live on a cat or dog but the flea will jump onto a cat or dog to feed and will then jump off again. In fact, a cat will only become host to a maximum of about 20-30 fleas at any one time.

Fleas will be most prevalent in the places where a cat sleeps with such places infested with thousands of fleas in various stages of development.

Fleas will lay eggs in carpets or other materials that act as 'hiding places' and can a single female flea may produce 750-1000 eggs in their lifetime.

Cat fleas are not particularly keen on human blood unless they are starved of a cat or dog and then they will often bite and feed from humans.

Bird fleas behave in a similar way, feeding on birds when they can but turning to humans for food when necessary.

How can I tell if my cat or dog has fleas?

Your cat or dog may constantly scratch, fidget or bite.

You may see dark sand sized granules in the fur and often on bedding or fabrics in the home - these are flea droppings.

 

flea treatments for cats and dogs

Can fleas in the house do any harm to us or to our pets?

Although fleas may be carriers of disease, they are unlikely to be the cause of a spread of infection. They do sometimes bite humans and it is estimated that about half of us are likely to suffer an irritating but otherwise harmless allergic reaction to the saliva in a flea bite. The symptoms are a very small red spot surrounded by a reddish patch. This can be aggravated by scratching so it best left untouched if possible. The irritation will subside within a day or two.

 

How can I get rid of fleas in my house or fleas on my cat or dog?

Give your pet a vigorous brushing with a fine brush or special flea brush. If fleas are present you will see the dark sand sized granules within the fur on the brush. Of course, you will probably see the fleas themselves as well.

The most important thing is regular cleaning of the house which denies the fleas a place to breed. Pay particular attention to cracks, crevices and around the edge of carpets. A vacuum cleaner will remove most of the fleas and eggs. After cleaning a room you should then use an insecticide on all floors and carpets.

Specially formulated powders and aerosols are readily available from your vet or pet shop, to be used on your cats and dogs and their sleeping areas. Always carefully follow the manufacturers instruction on the container, or of course the advice of your vet.

Popular products include:

Always speak to your vet for advice before using any flea treatment product. All information on this site is for guidance only and professional advice should always be sought.