How to tackle fleas and worms, even in winter!

As the weather starts to change and there’s a nip in the air, there’s just one question on everyone’s lips… ‘Is it too early to turn on the heating?’ Well, as soon as we do, it’s celebration time for fleas! Read on for how to tackle fleas and worms, even in winter.

Fleas

Fleas feed on blood, and the female flea needs a blood meal to reproduce, which is why we find fleas on our pets. The flea eggs laid in a pet’s coat fall off into their surroundings, where they wait for stimulation, before hatching into juvenile fleas, which then jump onto a pet, and the cycle starts all over again. So, it’s important to treat your pets regularly with suitable flea product to kill any fleas on your pet and break the cycle.

Summer is the height of flea season but as we move into the cooler months and start to turn on our heating, any viable flea eggs that are in the dark recesses of sofas, carpets and gaps between your floorboards will wake up and start to hatch out. In fact, did you know that 95% of a flea problem is in the environment and only 5% is on the pet?!

So, to help prevent a flea infestation in your home be sure to keep up to date with your pet’s flea protection. Most cats and dogs will get fleas in their lifetime, so making flea treatment a regular part of your pet care routine gives you a much better chance of preventing them and the associated discomfort for your pet.

There are a few things you can look out for that could mean your pet has fleas:

  • Is your pet scratching?
  • Areas of hair loss, bald or sore patches?
  • Spots or scabs?
  • Redness and irritation?
  • Thickened skin in areas (e.g. around ear edges)?
  • Can you see tiny dark specks in its fur, or small brown-black insects scurrying about?
  • Do you have any unaccounted-for insect bites yourself?

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, it could mean fleas.

Flea treatments are widely available from pet stores but if you have any concerns, contact your vet for the most suitable flea treatment for your pet. Your vet can also advise on environmental sprays should you find you have a home infestation. For more information about fleas click here. 

Worms

Just as important as fleas, worms need to be dealt with too, as they can often come hand in hand. Worms can cause your pet suffering, illness and even death. Some types of worms can be spread between pets and people, and can cause diseases. Even healthy-looking animals can carry worms, so it’s important to worm your pets regularly. 

How do pets get worms

Animals can pick up worms up in a variety of ways, including from:

  • Other infected animals.
  • Eating the larvae or eggs of worms (e.g. in infected faeces or in the grass).
  • Eating raw meat, infected prey animals or infected parasites.
  • Fleas can carry tapeworm eggs, so to help prevent tapeworms, use a flea treatment on your pet regularly.

Also, many kittens have roundworm because it’s commonly passed on to them in their mother’s milk, so bear this in mind if you’ve recently welcomed a new little friend to your home.

Signs of worms

If your pet does have worms, you may see them in faeces or vomit, or around your pet’s bottom. Wrap any worms you find on or near your pet in damp cotton wool, and take them to your vet, so they can advise the best worm treatment.

Other signs your pet could have worms include:

  • Your pet starts losing weight.
  • Their fur is becoming dry and coarse.
  • Increased appetite, weakness and diarrhoea.
  • In severe cases, infected puppies and kittens can have a distended abdomen or ‘pot belly’.

Worming your pet regularly is important to keep them fit and healthy, and keep those pesky worms at bay. For more information about worming and how to best to prevent worms, click here.

Final thoughts

Part of being a responsible pet parent is trying to control parasites that could otherwise affect you or your pet. Fleas and worms are not just a nuisance but can be a danger to you and your pet’s health. Treat your pet regularly, so you can continue to cuddle with confidence!

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