Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Can Fleas Survive On Your Pet In Winter?

As a pet owner, I thought I knew pretty much everything when it came to cats and dogs.Having flea problems in the summer was something I was used to dealing with. Flea treatment prevention in the spring and extra grooming in the summer months helped to keep the little blood suckers off my beloved pets. However, I didn't anticipate a flea breakout in the winter. This particular winter in my London home was freezing with a long spell of snow ahead, so naturally the central heating was on full blast! I had never had a flea infestation in the colder months so I was a bit confused as to how they had survived and what they were living on? I found out they usually they lie dormant in winter but with the central heating on these little pests came back to life with a vengeance. To combat fleas during the winter season, it is vital to treat both the pet and their environment, because fleas live a large part of their life cycle off of the pet and in the environment (house, bed, garden etc). Fleas need warm and humid temperatures to survive. The inside of your house provides a warm environment to allow fleas to live all year round regardless of seasons. I didn't have carpet, floorboards only, so I thought that apart from my pets bedding etc I had cleaned everything at the end of that summer and all would be fine. WRONG!

Your first step is getting down and dirty with the vacuum cleaner. Carpet and floorboards are a great place for the eggs and larvae to hide as they can easily survive in the cracks and crevices. Then, when you or your pet walks by, they latch on. Have you ever noticed when you have a flea infestation, that you have bite marks around your ankles more than anywhere else. That's because of the flea problem in your floor corners and cracks. Fleas will bite you once and then fall off as they can't live on humans, but will happily feed off your pet forever.

Those little sneaky places your pet likes to hide in, under the bed, a cosy corner, in a secret cupboard are all breeding places for fleas. Not only do you have to hoover and treat the floor in your home you have to hoover and treat your mattress and bedding. Fleas are known to come to the surface when they feel the vibrations from a vacuum cleaner, then straight after, you hit them with the flea household spray treatment. Keep your pets out of the rooms as you individually treat them and close the door for as long as you can. House flea spray is not to be used anywhere near an animal, spot on treatments for them will do the trick. Hoovering will also collect the eggs, so you'll be starting to break the cycle. Regardless of whether you allow your pet on your bed or not it is advisable to spray both sides of the mattress as soon as it has been hovered. Throw away all of your pets toys, beds and play stands. Harsh, I know but they'll soon be just as attached to the new toys you buy them as they were to the old flea ridden ones. Make no mistake, fleas and flea eggs are made of hard stuff. They will survive and survive, so be ruthless.

Breaking the flea cycle will only happen if you treat your pets on the same day that you treat the home. 80 - 90% of fleas and eggs are not on your pet but lying dormant in your carpet, furniture and bedding. Eggs become larvae, larvae become pupae so the more of the pupae you vacuum up the better. The pupae stage is them developing into adult fleas and the cocoon surrounding the developing flea is water tight and immune to insecticides. So vacuum up as much as you possibly can before spraying. Be vicious about it, they will multiply and come back again and again. When you start spraying make sure you get into all the tiny cracks and gaps as well as all of your furniture, curtains and rugs. Also get rid of the hoover bag when you have finished. Yes the little pests will happily survive in the warm vacuum sack.

Now even in winter I thoroughly groom my pets and keep flea treatments to hand at all times. After I had vigorously tackled my home and pets I had only one further very mild problem, which has since never returned. The key is to break the cycle and the only way is to treat your house and pets at the same time, thoroughly!

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