Put quite simply, for the vast majority of our pets, treating against fleas now, and for the next three months, will ensure a flea free next 9 months. That might be a fairly bold claim, and there will always be a few minor exceptions to the rule.
For most cats and dogs the flea that is of most nuisance is the cat flea. This particular individual doesn’t just reside on cats – dogs make a perfectly acceptable host as well. But the cat flea, once on it’s new host, doesn’t jump off, which is the key to controlling it’s spread. Finding a host is almost a chance in a million for the flea emerging from its larval stage, so once onboard they’re not likely to give up their version of “winning the lottery” just because another pet in the household may be more tasty! So the reality is, in a multi pet household, if there are several pets infested with fleas then the problem is the household.
What’s the best de-flea product in the world…..?
…..your cat or dog’s tongue! They’ll groom off the odd flea, eventually. But if the flea is a female and has been present for more than 24 hours before they’re groomed off, then there’s the potential that that flea will be producing eggs, and the amount of eggs can number up to 200 a day. That’s where the problem starts. The eggs fall out of a cat or dog’s coat as soon as they are laid. They generally increase egg laying when your dog or cat is still, which is most usually when they’re lying around at home. There’s not much point in a flea laying eggs when a dog is charging down the Greenway, or running round the racecourse, or for that matter when a cat is on it’s nocturnal prowls. Any eggs hatching in these places will have little or no chance of surviving and finding a new host. But laying them in the home will increase that chance of survival many fold.
As mentioned, a pet acquiring fleas is very much a chance event. However, each of these chance events will have occurred at odd times during the summer. As summer inevitably turns to autumn and our pets spend more time indoors, and the central heating is switched on, every one of those eggs laid in the home will be hatching in to larvae and subsequently in to fleas, hungry for a host…any host! This is where you need to have in place the right de-flea treatment to manage this eventuality.
So what de-flea product do I need?
If you’re buying it over the counter at a shop, and not at your vets, you’re almost certainly wasting your money. The only products that are of any real worth, if you’re to manage the problem of a potential household problem, will be those spot-on preparations that are “prescription only medicines”. Even some of these will be less than impressive at dealing with a household problem. So what is needed is a de-flea product that can claim to treat the environment as well, and it also needs to be used on every pet in the household for three consecutive months. These products (amongst which are Stronghold and Activyl) not only treat against fleas present on the coat, but the active ingredient gets absorbed in to a pet’s hair and shedded skin. This is the food that the flea larvae feed on in our carpets and wooden floors, so the flea larvae get eliminated before they get near our pets. The reason why it takes three months, most usually, to clear a problem is because it needs successive sweeps of the home by the de-flea product, which can’t be achieved in the first month. Household sprays are available as well, but rarely can be relied on as the sole means of clearing a home.
With the summer we’re experiencing, warm spells interspersed with wet periods, it’s flea “heaven”. Putting in place the correct management for just a few months should ensure that it isn’t an autumn “hell” for our pets!