As National Spring Clean Week (8-16 April 2006) approaches, Bayer Animal Health is urging pet owners across the UK to thoroughly clean their cat and dog bedding - in an effort to combat a range of illnesses caused by poor hygiene and inconsistent pet care routines.
Fleas and parasitic worms (i.e. roundworm and tapeworm) can cause untold suffering to your pets, often resulting in undiagnosed problems such as diarrhoea, anorexia and extreme lethargy.
Fleas can lay up to 27 eggs per day and these eggs are usually found where the animal spends most time, such as the pet’s bed or a favourite armchair. The larvae, which hatch from these eggs, feed on organic debris, which can include tapeworm eggs. If a cat or dog then accidentally eats a flea carrying a parasite, the pet may develop a fully mature tapeworm within three weeks.
In addition, many people are unaware that some parasitic worms can cause disease in humans for example; Human toxocariasis (which can cause blindness) can be contracted by swallowing worm eggs inadvertently picked up from the environment or when you simply stroke a dog’s fur.
Sabrina Stroud of Bayer Animal Health - makers of the market leading Drontal worming tablets and Advantage flea control treatment - explained: ‘Modern households have fitted, often deep pile carpets which provide an ideal environment for fleas. In addition, the average temperature in homes has risen by 7°C in the past 15 years to now match the optimum temperature for a flea (between 18 and 25°C)’.
She added ‘As a result, there is an increased need to safeguard the health of not only your pet but also your family. Regular cleaning of pet bedding will help reduce the risk of parasites and, to avoid human infection, teaching children basic hygiene and washing your hands after handling your pet is important.
‘However, the one and only way of making sure your pets and family remain healthy and 100 per cent free from fleas and worms is regular preventative treatment. As a minimum it is recommended to worm your pet at least four times a year and we would suggest treating pets for fleas on a monthly basis.’