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Top 5 myths about fleas

- Posted by in Pet Discussion
Top 5 myths about fleas

Fleas are a total nuisance, as those of us with pets will know. They're tiny, quick, and next to impossible to get rid of once they take up residence. But treating fleas effectively would probably be a whole lot easier if there weren't so many myths surrounding them.

So, to help you in your quest against these pesky little bloodsuckers and to keep your pets and homes flea-free, let's take a look at some of the top myths doing the rounds and compare them to the actual reality!

1) Fleas live on pets, not in homes - although fleas are typically introduced to the home by a pet, once there, flea populations waste no time in multiplying and can thrive in the warm refuge of your home. This means it is not enough to simply treat your pet and consider the problem solved. By leaving the household untreated, you are missing roughly 80-90% of the developing flea population, which spells trouble for your pets who can quickly reinfect themselves!

Tackle the problem head-on by regularly washing all toys, bedding and fabrics in the home, and administer a topical treatment (such as a spot-on) to your pet every month. Vacuum your carpets and use a household flea spray like Indorex to treat the environment.

2) Indoor pets can't get fleas - wouldn't it be lovely if this were true? Unfortunately, even pets that spend most of their time inside are susceptible to fleas, which can be carried in on clothes and other pets. That fleas only live in carpets is another myth; in fact, fleas will live in all manner of places, including the cracks of floorboards and along skirting boards.

3) I only have to treat when I see fleas - just because your dog isn't scratching, doesn't mean he doesn't have fleas or that you shouldn't administer a preventative treatment to keep them at bay. As with many things, prevention is so much easier than cure, so even if you don't see fleas, you should always treat for them just in case. Trying to tackle a problem once it manifests can take weeks and even months to resolve, which is a lot of hassle, discomfort and expense in the meantime.

These days there's really no such thing as 'flea season' so ideally you should aim to de-flea your pet monthly. Be extra vigilant with outdoor cats as they may need treating more regularly.

4) Fleas have become resistant to certain topical treatments - in reality, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim, which is based mainly on vague anecdotal information. If you have any queries about the effectiveness of your spot-on, it is best to speak to your vet as other factors could be at play.

5) Beside causing itching, fleas are harmless - not only can flea bites trigger severe skin allergies such as Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD), fleas are also carriers of tapeworm which can infect dogs and cats if fleas are accidentally swallowed. The flea stage is necessary to the life cycle and reproduction of the tapeworm Dipylidium caninum, which thrives in the small intestines of dogs and cats. If your pet does contract tapeworm, as well as treating the worms, you will also need to manage the flea problem at hand, otherwise your pet will quickly become reinfected.

If you have any comments on this discussion, or would like us to dispel any other myths, please let us know by commenting below! Alternatively you can email me directly: [email protected]

Written by:


11th Mar 2016
Customer Since: March 2016
From: Lincolnshire, United Kingdom

Do I need to flea my dogs every month please ?

5th Apr 2016
Customer Since: September 2015
From: Castell-nedd Port Talbot, United Kingdom

can you tell me if advocate is the only thing I need to keep the flees away ? Or do I need frontline also ?

7th Mar 2017

Hi Lisa,

Monthly treatments are advisable, unless your pet has greater exposure to fleas and therefore needs treating more often.

Christine, Advocate or Frontline would be sufficient, you definitely don't need to use both. Remember to also treat the home with a topical spray such as Indorex.

5th Mar 2018

I have owned dogs for over 30 years and the last time I had to treat a dog for fleas was nearly 20 years ago. They have a healthy raw diet supplemented with salmon oil and have healthy glossy coats. Poor diet can lead to dull coats and dry skin and is more likely to attract fleas. Dog owners should avoid putting chemicals on their dogs except as a last resort as this could lead to other problems, keep them healthy and fleas should not be a problem. Definitely do not use chemical treatments a a preventative measure!

5th Mar 2018

I learned it the hard way, fleas are really awesome insects, and you just can't give any slack before the home is infested.

5th Mar 2018

I've been using advantage flea treatment on my cats for years and haven't seen a flea in sight :)

6th Mar 2018
Customer Since: October 2017
From: Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

I wanted to print the article off for a friend but it only printed first page down to (1) fleas live on pets not home

6th Mar 2018

Very interesting article on Flea Myths, and useful to be reminded of the connection with tapeworm - thank you

6th Mar 2018
Customer Since: July 2010
From: Durham, United Kingdom

A useful thing to know is that one shouldn't apply spot-on treatment immediately after a dog has had a bath - it doesn't seem to work on squeaky clean skin. I was told this by a vet when I once asked how my regularly treated dogs could be carrying fleas!

7th Mar 2018

I have just spent eight long torturous weeks combating the problem of fleas on my pets and in my home.
I have spent over £300 on various products to treat my two cats and my dog. thats without the cost of boil washing everything in my house that can be boiled plus the pet beds I have had to buy to replace the beds that could not be hot washed.
Having treated the three of them every four weeks with spot on and adding "Flea Guard" tabs daily in their food I dont know what else I can do to treat them.
Sadly I have had to give my dog to my daughter as no matter what I did she constantly had tiny black fleas dropping out of her coat which I assume the cats had passed on to her. I have also used flea collars but as my cats are not indoor cats I dont like to put collars on them.
I tried a product called "Billy no Mates" but it is ever so expensive so I am hoping the Fleaguard will be effective.
Is there anything that I can use to prevent the fleas attacking my cats inbetween the four weekly spot on reatment?
The cats are semi ferrel sibblings but where as the male is willing to be combed the female is more likely to rip my hand off, treating her with the spot on is hit and miss.
I dont want to tempt fate but daily checks of where they sleep has shown to be clear of anything flea related but I am stressed out with the whole episode.
ANY help or advice will be most appreciated
many thanks in advance

17th Jul 2018
Customer Since: November 2014
From: United Kingdom

I use. frontline on a monthly basis you are suggesting that this may not be sufficient to prevent fleas My concern is if I use additional insecticide this may have an adverse effect on the dog

17th Jul 2018
Customer Since: August 2011
From: West Sussex, United Kingdom

I use Bravecto tablets for my dogs and Seresto collars on my cats I do it twice a year and never see a flea or tick on them I have four Bernese Mountain Dogs and three cats so I know they work get a prescription from your vet and order on line much much cheaper

18th Jul 2018
Customer Since: December 2016
From: Powys, United Kingdom

The last time I had a dog with fleas was 20 years ago. Keep your dog healthy on a good diet supplemented with oil, such as salmon oil, and you shouldn't have a flea problem. Preventative treatments are unnecessary and you could be exposing your dog to harmful chemicals.

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