Fleas and Ticks

Flea infestation is one of the most common problems occurring in pets in Britain today.

  • Almost every dog or cat will become infested at some time during their life.
  • Fleas feed on blood from either our pets or ourselves! In young puppies or kittens this can even be life threatening.
  • In adults the main problem is irritation and skin allergy problems.
  • As fleas are very small they can be difficult to see, the best way to check is to look for flea dirt in the coat. Flea dirt appears as small black specks composed of dried blood. You can do this by combing through your pets' coat onto a wet piece of paper or cotton wool, if the specks turn red/brown your pet has fleas.

Fortunately, there is an effective way of controlling fleas.

Controlling Fleas

  • Successful flea treatment depends on all year round control.
  • Only about 5% of fleas live on your pet at any time, the rest are in your house!
  • Regular vacuuming and washing of your pet's bedding can remove a large part of the problem (60 degree wash).
  • The flea eggs tend to drop off in areas where your pet commonly visits, but since the larvae are mobile and tend to move away from the light it is essential to remember to vacuum everywhere, especially those ‘hard-to-reach’ places such as under the sofa and behind the TV etc

Flea Life Cycle

When a juvenile flea hatches & lands on your dog it will live for about 3-4 weeks. During this time it will take regular blood meals & lay in the region of 300-400 eggs per day. These eggs fall off into the environment such as the carpets, sofa, bedding etc.
These eggs then develop into pupae, larvae & then immature fleas. Once these immature fleas hatch they look for a suitable host & jump onto it.

The eggs are programmed to develop at different rates- some complete the lifecycle in 2 weeks whilst others take up to a year.

Environmental factors such as temperature, humidity & vibration affect the rate of development as well - indeed the immature stages can remain in a dormant state for years until they feel vibrations e.g. feet walking about. At this point they hatch and immediately jump onto a passing pet or human.

Recommended Treatment

There are now a wide variety of treatments for your pet; we recommend a relatively new product that lasts for 12 weeks and is given either as a chewy treat or as a more traditional 'spot-on'. .

Please feel free to contact the surgery to discuss your pets needs with the vet for flea control & the products available.

There is no successful flea control program that does not involve treating the environment.

In cases of heavy flea infestation we recommend the use of an environmental spray that kills both adult fleas and larvae – these effects can last up to one year.


These are very common in the North of England & Scotland.

  • When a dog or human brushes past long foliage the tick will attach itself to them.
  • At this point it is very small, the size of a pinhead. Over the next few days it takes a blood meal, increasing in size to a small grape.
  • Ticks can transmit several diseases that can be difficult to treat, e.g. Lymes Disease.
  • You must keep a close eye on your pet for up to 1 month after a tick bite. Observe for dullness, lethargy, reduced appetite or stiffness. If you see any of these symptoms you must present your pet to us to check.

The same product that we recommend for fleas will also rapidly kill ticks on your pet. Please contact the surgery for more details.