Eek! Fleas. Now what?

What are fleas?

Fleas are small biting insects that have been a source of irritation to both man and animals for a very long time!

As well as causing itchy, annoying bites, fleas can also cause more serious problems:

  • Allergic reactions (often require veterinary attention)
  • Anaemia (especially in very young or old, sick animals)
  • Fleas can transmit other diseases (such as tapeworms)
How does my pet get fleas?

95% of the flea life cycle occurs in the environment (both inside and outside the house) and only 5% on the dog’s or cat’s skin. Pets pick up fleas when they visit an infested environment.

Direct contact with another infested animal is not necessary. Even indoor cats can become infested due to fleas entering the home.

What happens when my pet becomes infested?

Once on its host, the flea bites and takes a blood meal. It then lays 50-100 eggs per day until it dies. Each of these eggs can potentially develop into another flea and so the scale of an infestation rapidly escalates.

The eggs develop in your home through a grub (or larval) and then a pupa stage. The pupae are extremely resistant to insecticides and can lie dormant for many months. For every flea you see on your pet, there are 40-50 more in your home. At some point, the dormant pupae hatch new adult fleas which re-infest your pet. The whole cycle then repeats.

What can be done to treat and prevent flea infestations?

Effective control depends on:

  1. Killing adult fleas by the regular use of a rapidly acting This can be a topical Spot-On, Spray or Collar or alternatively an Oral product. It is VITAL to treat all the pets in the house.
  2. Preventing the development of viable eggs. Some products contain flea growth regulators which render the flea sterile.
  3. Reduce the number of grubs / larvae in the home. (The pupae, once formed, are resistant to treatments). This is done by regular vacuuming, hot washing bedding and the use of household anti-flea sprays.

Whatever product you use, repeated re-infestation due to hatching pupae, is inevitable for 3-6 months from the start of treatment. Treatment must therefore be continued for a minimum of 6 months. Some infestations can take considerably longer to remove.

Some products will also kill other parasites such as worms, ticks and mites. If you have any questions about parasite treatment and prevention please speak to one of the Oakhill Team who will be happy to advise you on the most appropriate treatments for your particular circumstances.


Some flea products bought from pet shops may contain PERMETHRIN. Permethrin containing products are potentially dangerous to pets and we regularly see adverse reactions to them. We DO NOT recommend the use of these products.