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Home / All  / THE SECRET LIFE OF FLEAS

Winter is here and a significant number of pet owners are expected to reduce or stop preventative flea treatments because ‘you don’t need to worry about fleas in the cold winter months’. Right? Wrong.
Pet owners who don’t keep up treatments could be facing an infestation in spring, which takes considerably more effort to deal with.
It is true that the average temperature outside is low enough in winter to slow the flea’s life-cycle. However an estimated 92 per cent of cats and 76 per cent of dogs spend all or some of their time indoors.
Dr Peter Holdsworth, CEO of the Animal Health Alliance, says for most people the ideal temperature indoors is around 22 degrees, warm enough for fleas to survive and keep breeding all year round.
“What often happens during winter is that fleas continue to reproduce, dropping 20 to 50 eggs a day through the home. Female fleas can consume more than 15 times their body weight in blood and survive on a host for up to 140 days,” said Dr Holdsworth.
“In their lifetime they can lay several thousand eggs, which are dropped wherever the host animal goes. The microclimate in the average home provides ideal conditions to support all stages of a flea’s lifecycle. As soon as the weather warms up and gets more humid, the pupae hatch and pet owners face an infestation.”
There are four stages in the lifecycle: eggs, larvae, pupae or pre-emergent adults and adults. Pre-emergence is also called the waiting stage because adults only emerge when the temperature and humidity conditions are ‘right’. For this reason the lifecycle can be completed in anywhere from 14 to 140 days.
“Getting rid of an infestation can take quite a bit of work, and can involve daily vacuuming, spot treatments for pets and even a flea bomb. Keeping preventative treatments up to date is a much easier option, and also protects our much loved companions from parasites year-round,” said Dr Holdsworth.
“While fleas are generally a nuisance for people and a challenge to get rid of in high numbers, they can be a serious health risk for dogs and cats.”
Fleas can impact the general well-being of animals, cause itching, redness, hair loss, and in certain cases severe skin infections.
The most harmful effects include flea allergy dermatitis, the transmission of tapeworms and bacterial diseases and blood loss, which can be particularly dangerous in young kittens as it can cause anaemia.
“Keeping our pets healthy and free of parasites is an important responsibility and even pets that are kept indoors can pick up the occasional flea that could result in an infestation.
At Brontosaurus we have  a range of preventative treatments available so come in for some flea advice!