My dog does not have fleas

Tuesday, 11th June 2013

“My dog does not have fleas”

This was the indignant reaction from my sister in law when I mildly suggested that the collection of bites in the classic ‘flea bite cluster’ on my 3 year old sons leg could have some connection with her own baby, a Bichon Frise, by the name of Harry.

Working daily in the pet industry perhaps I am immune to any stigma attached to parasites on cats and dogs, I really could not understand her reaction, but I did not press the point. She looked mad.

The reality is that when dogs and cats pick fleas up from the environment and other animals they can be tough to shift. Even if the animal has been treated with a suitable flea treatment such as Frontline for Dogs, which apparently Harry had been, the house had not. Bayer the makers of Advantage flea treatment for dogs and cats estimate that 95% of fleas live in the environment with only 5% on the animal at any time. This means that even if the animal has been treated the house could still be full of fleas. While Advantage has some activity in the environment it will not kill fleas throughout the house.

We would recommend using a suitable flea treatment for the house. Examples include Indorex, Acclaim and Nuvan Staykill.

Cat fleas are particularly hardy so if you have a cat please make sure that you use a suitable flea treatment for cats such as Frontline for Cats or a similar product such as Fipnil.

Because of the link between fleas and tapeworm in cats and dogs we would also suggest using a suitable wormer. I wrote a blog post about that here

For information on insect bites on people including flea bites the NHS have a good information page.