Even though you may have the cleanest pet in the world and your house is sparkling, your furry friend may still get fleas.

It is commonly assumed that fleas jump from one animal to another but that is not the case. Pets generally pick up fleas from infested areas such as the local park, your own garden or any place where animals with fleas (hedgehogs, foxes or another cat or dogs) can be found.

Fleas are tiny, dark brown creatures which feed on your pet by sucking their blood. They move around on the surface of the skin, dodging between the hairs and are difficult to see.  They can cause great discomfort to your pet as some animals are sensitive to flea bites and can have an allergic reaction. This can lead to more serious skin problems such as an infection due to excessive scratching.

If your pet become infested with fleas,  scratching may not be the only issue they face. As fleas feed on blood,  young or frail animals can become weak, flea larvae can become infected with tapeworm eggs and if your pet eats an infected flea when it is being groomed it can become host to this parasite. Fleas can also spread diseases. Myxomatosis can be spread by fleas and this can be serious for rabbits.

There are few things you can do to check for fleas. Groom your pet using a fine tooth comb over a white surface or some kitchen towel. If fleas or flea droppings are present, they will drop onto the surface. If you think you have flea droppings, add a few drops of water to them and if they go a reddish-brown colour then there is a good chance your pet has fleas. Another good idea is to get a flea spray that you can use around your home.

If you believe there is a problem with fleas we suggest you speak to our vets or nurses about the best course of action for your pet.