Though fleas are a fact of life all year, the mild weather has made them particularly nasty in the UK in recent months. Here are some preventative measures that your furry friends will thank you for!
Unfortunately, these nasty little guys can do more than make your dog or cat itchy – they can lead to secondary infections if the scratched skin doesn’t heal, as well as spread really easily between pets.
It’s SUPER important for sitters and owners to work together to keep fleas at bay, especially if you have guest and host pets making contact with each other or sharing the same space.
Checking for fleas
If your pet has fleas, have them treated before sending your pet to stay in a sitter’s home. Likewise, sitters should make sure your pets are all clear before having a guest pet over to visit.
So how do you spot these critters? If your pet is consistently scratching, this is a pretty clear indicator. To be sure, part your pet’s fur and have a good look at their skin – especially on their hind and on their belly. You might see little dark insects scurry or hop away, red itchy bites or dark flea droppings.
Chat with your vet
Your vet will have some recommendations for products including shampoos, treatments, powders and sprays. You may also want to supplement your vet’s suggestions with some homemade remedies such as those suggested below, but be sure to call the vet first.
De-flea your space
These home remedies won’t kill fleas but can help to keep them at bay if you do them regularly.
Wash or spray your pet’s bedding in some apple cider vinegar (use half water and half vinegar) and leave to dry in the sun. You may need to do this to any rugs, blankets or carpets around the home that your pet has the habit of napping on. Give pet furniture a good spray and wipe with diluted vinegar, especially baskets, scratching posts and dog houses.
Lemon, too, is a repellent for fleas. Simply add a small amount to your pet’s bath or brush through their fur before they go outside and run through grass.
Stay on top of household dust and clutter, and vacuum carpets and rugs regularly. Be sure to throw out old vacuum bags too, as eggs and fleas can be found in these warm, dusty environments.
Fleas can be found in gardens, so maintain your garden and try to keep lawn trimmed and clippings away from where pets can snuffle.
If you have a flea infestation, be sure to contact a pest specialist – it might be necessary to have your carpet shampooed or whole home treated by a professional.