Flea and Worm Control for Dogs and Cats

Flea and Worm Control for Pets

Fleas and worms can be really irritating problems for pets and their owners. Although our pets need regular treatment throughout the year, springtime often leads to an increase in cases of fleas and worms. This is because our pets tend to be out and about a bit more as the warmer weather approaches.

The OSCAR Helpline team are here to help you care for your pets with our flea and worming advice.

What do fleas look like?

There are many different species of fleas in the UK. Typically, each species has its own species of pet to live on: cats have cat fleas, dogs have dog fleas, rabbits have rabbit fleas and birds have bird fleas. Your dog or cat may pick up another species of flea on their body, but those fleas will not be able to reproduce unless they reach their correct host.

Adult fleas are brown in colour and approximately 2-3 millimetres in length. Fleas don't have wings, but they do have big hind legs to help them jump on and off your pets. They are also very light in weight and this helps them with their athletic movement.

Fleas like a warm environment, ideally somewhere between 18-27 degrees centigrade. With a combination of winter heating and summer sun, fleas have the ideal temperature to be active all year round.

What are the signs of fleas?

Fleas need to live on our pets to survive. They do this by sucking blood from our dogs and cats several times a day. Sounds gruesome doesn't it! You may notice red spots on the groin, belly, under leg, base of tail and rump area of your pet. These are the places fleas like to feed from.

You may also see 'flea dirt' on your pet's coat. Flea dirt is faecal matter from the adult flea. If you have a dark coated pet, it can be harder to notice. You can use a flea comb to brush through your pet's coat to check for flea dirt. Or you can wipe a damp paper towel over your pet's coat which will pick up any flea dirt.

Pets that have fleas, tend to itch at the point where they have been bitten in order to relieve themselves. Some pets can develop a 'flea allergy dermatitis', which is severe itching of the skin. It is thought that the saliva of the flea causes the allergy. If you think your pet is itching excessively, then contact your vet for advice.

What is the life cycle of the flea?

The flea is an insect and has four life stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult flea (insert photo). It is only at the adult stage that fleas are noticed when living on your dog or cat. During the egg, larva and pupa stages they live in the carpet or on your pet's bedding. When the flea hatches from its cocoon, it then jumps onto your pet. The female flea can lay approximately 20 eggs per day and up to 500 eggs in her life time. Fleas can also live up to 90 days on your pet!

What is the best treatment for fleas?

A first line response to treat fleas is Beaphar Dog Flea Spray and and Cat Flea Spray this will stop the return of fleas for up to 4 days. Because fleas can also live in your carpet and your pets bedding, it is important to treat your home as well. We recommend using Beaphar Defest Spray as part of your flea management programme.

Longer term management to control fleas involves using Beaphar Fiprotect Spot On treatments for dogs and for cats. If 'spot on' treatments are not for your pets, then why not considered a flea collar?


Dogs and cats should be wormed at 3 monthly intervals to treat common roundworm and tapeworm. Tapeworms are transmitted to cats and dogs through the accidental consumption of fleas during grooming, so it is vitally important to regularly treat your pets for fleas. Roundworm is transmitted through contact with worm larvae. This can occur when your pet is outside or when it consumes infected prey animals. Beaphar Worm Clear is an ideal treatment for cats. For adult dogs, try Beaphar Worm Clear.

Puppies and Kittens contract worms through their mother's milk. A litter of puppies or kittens should first be wormed at 2 weeks old. Then at 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 weeks. After 12 weeks, a young pet should be wormed every 3 months or as advised by the vet. Beaphar Puppy Worming cream is an easy syringe treatment for puppies and kittens.

Follow the worm guideline closely and avoid worming your pet just after a big meal, as it can make them sick. If your pet won't take the tablet, you could try wrapping it up in a little piece of food or use our tablet introducer. If your pet is sick after worming, contact your veterinary practice for further advice.

If you would like any further advice on our blog, please contact the OSCAR Helpline on our freephone number 0800 195 8000 or email helpline@oscars.co.uk.

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