We would have expected to have seen the last of fleas by now in a normal year. But with the weather patterns appearing to be upside down this is no ordinary year. So the nuisance of fleas will be with us for a little while yet. The warmer weather is promised for the remainder of the month, which coupled to the very mild autumn means that there are a lot of rodents out and about still, providing more opportunities for fleas to multiply. If you’re a cat this is just about as good as life gets in terms of hunting. As for dogs, rooting around in the undergrowth right now is manor from heaven for our canine companions with all the attendant problems of coming across nests of mice and the like.
What should I be doing to stop the fleas getting in to my home? Fortunately these days there are a number of spot-on, pill and injectable options to keep a house flea-free. Some are a lot better than others though. The tried and trusted spot-on, Stronghold, is probably the best option for cats that are continually getting access to rodents (and so to fleas as well). The dropper on the back of the neck doesn’t just treat your pet, but also treats your home. Effectively the scurf or dander becomes “charged” with the Stronghold. This then is ingested by the mini fleas around your home and so eliminates them before they become a nuisance for you and your pet. The important point to remember is to maintain the dropper monthly to get the job done properly.
Are there any alternatives to the monthly dropper, Yes,for cats there is a very elegant option which is a once-every-6-months injection, called Program. This gets round the faff of having to remember to put a dropper on the back of a cat’s neck. It means that we need to see your cat to give the injection, but it is a very simple procedure (assuming you can catch your cat!). What Program does is render any flea sterile. It’s job is not to kill a flea; but as no flea will jump from cat to cat (or human) then they are effectively marooned in the fur and will very soon be groomed off. The problem is that in the interim flea eggs will be shed which will allow the lifecycle to continue. But with Program injection this stops. What Program doesn’t do is deal with any round worms (the other part of Stronghold’s function). So periodically, those cats getting the Program injection will need to have a deworming pill.
and for dogs? Well, life has become a whole lot simpler than putting a dropper on the back of the neck. There’s now a chewy tablet called Bravecto that only needs to be given once every three months and deals with fleas and also ticks. Nearly all dogs take the tablet very easily (although there are a few exceptions). Bravecto doesn’t clear worms though so an additional pill is given at the same time, again, at a three month interval.