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The truth about Winter Fleas

Spring and summer are most commonly perceived as the worst times of year for dog and cat flea infestations, but Vet-Medic's John Rosie is warning that complacency amongst pet owners during colder months may lead to a winter flea infestation for some homes in the UK.

‘Most people assume that fleas can't survive in cold weather and are therefore nothing to worry about in winter. In actual fact, thanks to central heating, the average temperature in a typical UK home is 22°C, so fleas are benefiting from thriving conditions all year round.’ says John.
Double-glazing, fitted carpets, and thermostatically-controlled radiators in every room might well afford us much welcomed comfort and warmth during the winter months, but it would also appear that we have inadvertently turned our homes into the perfect all-weather breeding ground for fleas.

‘At Vet-Medic, we operate a free helpline offering pet owners expert, impartial veterinary advice and we have noticed that there is very much a seasonal trend to the calls we receive about flea control, with enquiries significantly reducing as we move into winter. Because people are more relaxed with regards flea treatments at this time of year, the chances of getting a serious infestation is quite high which can lead to significant health problems for both pet and owner,’ adds John.

Everyone knows that prevention can be better than cure - and this is most certainly true when it comes to fleas, but despite this most pet owners tend to only react to the visible signs and limit treatment to just their pets, which unfortunately means they are usually too late to prevent an unwanted invasion.

Almost all pet experts agree that Integrated Flea Control is the best form of management for a flea infestation. It involves using a combination of 2 different types of insecticide that target the different stages of the flea life cycle. An adulticide is used to kill the adult fleas you can see on your pet and an insect growth regulator is used to deal with the eggs they lay around your house.

An effective treatment programme involves treating your home, not just your pet" says John, "Each female flea can lay hundreds of eggs which will fall off your cat or dog wherever they are, so if your pet has a case of fleas it is extremely likely there are thousands of eggs scattered around your home.

Some animals can be quite allergic to fleas and knowing what and how much treatment to use can prove complicated, so it is always best to seek veterinary advice with regards flea control.

Flea Facts

  • There are over 2000 species of flea, 63 of which can be found in the UK.
  • Cat Fleas, despite their name, infest dogs as well as cats and are the most common type of flea found on our pets.
  • A flea can jump over 150 times its own height.
  • A flea when jumping accelerates 50 times faster than a NASA space shuttle.
  • A female flea consumes more than 15 times its body weight in blood every day.
  • A flea can live for more than 100 days.
  • The largest recorded flea is the North American Hystrichopsylla schefferi, measuring 12mm in length -- almost half an inch!

Reader Offer

To encourage owners to help change the seasonal attitude towards fleas, Vet-Medic are offering every Our Dogs reader a 20% discount off RIP Flea Spray (worth £13.99 ). Visit and use discount code RIP201109 when making your purchase.

To find out more about Vet-Medic’s extensive range of flea and worm treatments visit or call their free helpline on 0800 387348 for advice.

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