If a cat or dog shares your bed, you could be sleeping with thousands of fleas too, warns leading veterinary charity PDSA.
The news comes as millions of owners and their pets throughout the UK face more sleepless, scratchy nights this month. (National Bed Month runs throughout March).
“Fleas thrive in a warm environment,” says PDSA Senior Veterinary Surgeon, Sean Wensley, “and their larvae feed off debris such as pet dandruff and adult flea faeces, making your pet’s bed the perfect breeding ground. If your dog or cat sleeps on your bed, then that’s one of the places where the fleas will thrive.”
‘PDSA Says Be Careful Of Bed Bugs’
PDSA estimates that some pet beds could contain hundreds of flea eggs at any one time. Fleas can jump 20cm high – over a metre long – so within weeks your home could become infested if necessary precautions are not taken.
Sean said: “Under favourable conditions a single flea can give rise to a population of 20,000 in just two months because of the rapid rate at which they reproduce.”
Ridding your pet and their bed of fleas can be achieved in two simple stages.
“Firstly, owners need to use a safe and effective flea treatment product on their pets” said Sean, adding “It is essential that owners regularly use the correct flea treatments in the right manner.”
Using a dog flea treatment on a cat can result in fatal poisoning, as can exceeding the recommended dosage, so always consult your vet for advice on the best flea treatment to use. PDSA vets regularly see pets that have been treated incorrectly with flea treatments, some of whom, sadly, do not survive.
Sean continues “Owners should remember that products bought ‘over-the-counter’, from pet shops or supermarkets, may not be as safe or effective as those prescribed by their vet.”
“The next stage is to ensure that your pet’s bedding and living environment is regularly vacuumed and washed, because fleas, flea eggs and larvae will be thriving. Your pet’s bed should be washed at least weekly in hot water to ensure all stages of the flea life cycle are destroyed.”
To encourage owners to treat their pets, PDSA, in conjunction with Pfizer Animal Health, is offering its eligible clients a special‘buy three get one free’ promotion. For the next three months*, with every three flea treatments they purchase at their local PDSA PetAid hospital, clients will get a fourth treatment absolutely free**! For more information clients should contact their local PDSA PetAid hospital or call freephone 0800 917 2509.
Top tips for a flea-free bed!
· A dog or cat’s bed should ideally be washed once a week in a sixty degree wash to destroy any flea eggs.
· Vacuuming will remove pet dandruff and dirt from a pet’s bedding, making it harder for the flea larvae to survive.
· The best bedding for your pet is veterinary bedding which is made of synthetic fur-type material on a woven base. This can be machine-washed and is stay-dry so any moisture will disappear.
· Why not have two beds for your pet, so when one is being washed, the other can be in use? This will make the process a lot more hassle-free!
Pet owners who want to learn more about protecting their pets from fleas can download a free copy of PDSA’s responsible pet care leaflet, ‘Fleas’, from www.pdsa.org.uk. The leaflets are also available from PDSA PetAid hospitals and charity shops nationwide.