Fleas are small wingless parasitic insects that feed on the blood of mammals and birds. Although fleas may be more prevalent in the summer months, it can be more effective to deal with them during winter as the colder weather slows their development down, making them easier to eradicate. 

Emily Chadburn, Senior Veterinary Surgeon at Heath Veterinary Clinic in Burgess Hill and Hurstpierpoint, offers information on all things flea related so that pet owners can be prepared if any nasty critters take a fancy to their much-loved furry companion: 

  • Flea bites can cause itching and sometimes transmit diseases such as flea allergy dermatitis or anaemia, especially in small or poorly pets. Ingested fleas may also cause a tapeworm infection.
  • Fleas can inhabit any animal, including clean, healthy ones so it's important to treat your pets regularly with a suitable product. It is recommended to use a flea treatment approximately every four to six weeks as a preventative measure.
  • If your animal does get fleas, you must clean your home as well. Hoovering carpets, sofas and cleaning human and pet bedding will all help to kill off larvae and eggs.
  • Some flea treatments won't completely rid your animal of fleas. It is a good idea to purchase a flea comb and regularly use it on your pet to remove any eggs or larvae from the skin and fur.
  • If you are concerned about using chemicals on your pet, there are some effective, natural products on the market, most of which contain an essential oil called geraniol, derived from the geranium plant. Geraniol has powerful flea and mosquito repellent properties and is safe for cats and dogs.
  • If you have any concerns or if your pet has bad reactions to fleas or treatment, consult your vet.

For more information and advice about fleas, pop into your local Heath Veterinary Clinic either in Burgess Hill or Hurstpierpoint.

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