British pet lovers could be set for a summer of scratching after sharing their homes with up to 2 million fleas, a veterinary charity has warned.
The PDSA – People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals – said that every pet-owning household in the country could have around 20,000 flea eggs at any one time.
The organisation’s experts said the flea population can increase up to one hundred times within the space of six months as they reproduce.
And PDSA’s vets reckon at the height of the summer onslaught, Britain’s canine population can lose as much as 17,600 pints – or 2,200 gallons – of blood every day to the bloodthirsty mites.
The figures underline the need for pet owners to take comprehensive steps to rid homes – and pets – of the pests, said the charity.
PDSA senior veterinary surgeon, Elaine Pendlebury, said: ‘Flea eggs fall off your pet wherever it goes, in particular where they sleep.
‘So if your pet snoozes with you at night, your bed could literally be infested with hundreds of fleas and eggs – not a comforting thought when you’re trying to get to sleep at night.
‘It is vitally important to use the correct flea treatments and dosage for pets.’
She added: ‘Using a dog flea treatment on a cat can result in fatal poisoning, as can exceeding the recommended dosage, so always consult your vet for advice on the best flea treatment to use.
‘Remember too that treating your pet is only part of the procedure as you will have to treat your home and all of the pets within your household too.
‘Everything the dog or cat comes into contact with should be treated with a product recommended by your vet or it is inevitable that the fleas will come back.’
Fleas can cause very serious health problems. They are one of the most common causes of skin disease in dogs and in severe cases, smaller animals, particularly kittens, can die from anaemia, due to blood loss from the feeding fleas.
With around 14 million cats and dogs in the UK today, most at some point in their lives will be affected by fleas.
© The Press Association. All rights reserved