Healthspan November 06, 2017

With the arrival of autumn, and winter imminent, many of us mistakenly think that our pet’s flea and worm worries are over. Unfortunately, fleas and worms are far more resilient than we first thought…

Hardy fleas…

Fleas can live up to 10 days at 3°C and it’s believed to take 5 days at temperatures as low as -1°C to kill all adult fleas. Since not many of us live in houses cooler than a fridge, or indeed a freezer, winter is no longer a barrier to their survival. Even outdoors, fleas can survive on warm-blooded animals and in sheltered nooks and nests.

Knowing exactly how many eggs a female flea can lay in a very short time will make the decision to use flea protection even more obvious. On average, each female will lay between 20 and 30 eggs a day, so within one week on their host, they will have laid 140-210 eggs. On long-haired animals, fleas can survive longer and will therefore lay several hundred eggs during her lifetime. Many of these will stay on your pet, while others will fall off and infest all areas of your home, including soft furnishings, carpets, rugs and bedding.

Tough worms…

Recently, roundworm and whipworm eggs have also been shown to be able to survive lower temperatures than we originally thought, meaning they can be picked up from the soil all year round. Removing shoes and cleaning bike or buggy wheels before entering the home is one of the most important measures to take after being outside.

Tapeworms are the third member of the four most common worms in the UK (hookworm being the final one). Tapeworms are contacted through fleas, so, as explained above, can also continue to be a problem all year round, making it important to keep flea and worm protection up-to-date whether it’s spring, summer, winter or autumn.

Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn’t possible supplements can help. This article isn’t intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.

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