Veterinarian Dr Harry explains why pets get fleas and worms

People often ask me, “I have an inside only pet. Do I still need to give them flea and worming treatments? Aren’t these only for outside pets?”Unfortunately, even if your pet never goes outside, they can still suffer from fleas and worms.

The adult fleas you can see on your pet, represent only 5% of the total flea population with the majority lurking in a pet’s home environment (as eggs, larvae and pupae). Although not always visible, fleas lay up to 50 eggs a day, which can hide in your carpet, rugs, couch or cracks in the floorboards.

Dr Harry

Without prevention, your home may be at risk of a flea infestation, as they thrive in damp, shady areas in your garden, under the house and their eggs can be shed from neighbourhood pets, rodents or native animals that have access to your backyard or home. If you have come into contact with other pets, fleas can even be found on your clothes!

Similarly, worms pose serious health issues and can be contracted through drinking contaminated water, contact with infected animals and swallowing fleas, just to name a few.

Not all worms can be easily identified and it is often the symptoms you’ll spot first. Pet owners should be on the lookout if their pet has low energy, a change in appetite, weight loss, a potbellied appearance, coughing and in some cases vomiting.

For these reasons, it’s crucial to treat your pet, monthly through the year. Missing just one treatment can quickly lead to an infestation or an outbreak.

My top tips for preventing fleas:

TIP 1. Select the right treatment specifically for your pet. Did you know some dog flea treatments are toxic to cats? Purina has a great range of TOTALCARE products for you to choose from. Look for it in your supermarket.

TIP 2. Once you treat your pet for, don’t forget to clean their kennel, bed and even the carpet in your house. Make sure you wash their kennel with a flea specific yard spray, their bedding thoroughly, and consider using a flea bomb inside of your house.

TIP 3. Flea are a faithful insect! Once they find someone they like they stick to them! To stop fleas occurring, continue to use flea products all year round. The TOTALCARE Flea & Tick Control and the TOTALCARE Allwormer products are great for treating fleas and worms.

TIP 4. Remember pets can give fleas to each other. Treat all your pets at the same time, each month.

My top tips for preventing worms:

TIP 1.. Don’t forget to clean up after your pet, as this is the most common source of parasites. Your pet can be exposed to worms through contaminated soil.

TIP 2. . Watch what your pet eats. It is important to supervise them when outside and watch for any contact with other animals, including insects and birds which are the most common carriers of parasites.

TIP 3. . If you have an infected pet that you suspect has worms, keep them in isolation. This means their own bowls and food; even separate sleeping areas, as worms are highly contagious. It’s also important to keep them away from children.

TIP 4.. Strength your pet’s immune systems as pets with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to worms and feed them a complete and balanced diet. Check out PURINA’s range of food products.

TIP 5.. Monthly medications: Don’t forget! This is the best way to give them year round protection.

The PetCare Advice Team

If you’ve got a question about any aspect of pet care, ask the Purina PetCare Advice Team.

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