Flea Bites, Ticks, and Ear Mites

External parasites that feed on your pet’s blood are not only incredibly annoying for your pet but can lead to severe itching, skin infections and other health conditions.

The soft, warm fur of dogs and cats provides the perfect environment for fleas and ticks, and ears are a favourite for ear mites. 

Fleas are the most common cause of skin disease in dogs and cats. When a flea bites, it injects saliva into your pet’s skin. This may trigger an allergic reaction. Signs include intense itching, hair loss (especially just in front of the tail), scabs, and red irritated skin, which may lead to skin infections.

How do I know my pet has fleas?

Fleas are small and move fast, so can be hard to see. The easiest way to find fleas on a cat or dog is to use a special fine-toothed flea comb, which can scoop up fleas and their dirt. Check under their neck, around the base of the tail and belly especially.

Other signs your pet has fleas include:

  • Flea droppings (dark specks) in the fur
  • Flea eggs (white specks) in the fur
  • Excessive licking or scratching
  • Scabs or hot spots on the skin
  • Pale gums and lack of energy from anaemia (from severe infestations)


How do pets get fleas?

If you see one flea, then you have a flea problem. Knowing the flea life cycle helps us to understand how cats and dogs can continually get fleas, as adult fleas are just a small portion of the flea population.

There are four stages of the flea life cycle:

  1. Eggs: 50% of a flea population. Adult female fleas lay 40-50 eggs a day following a meal of blood. Eggs are small, white, and laid in your pet’s fur. They drop off into the environment and develop from 2 days (when warm) to 2 weeks (when cooler). 
  2. Larvae: 35% of the flea population. Emerging larvae are blind and avoid being out in the light. They develop over several weeks by eating pre-digested blood (flea dander or dirt) that adult fleas pass, along with other organic debris in the environment.
  3. Pupae: 10% of the flea population. In a sticky, protective cocoon, pupae can lay dormant deep in carpet and textiles for months awaiting a pet to walk by or people to move into a house. 
  4. Adult: 5% of the flea population. Shortly after their first feed of blood, they will breed and begin laying eggs. 

Therefore, it is important to regularly vacuum your house, wash your pet’s bedding, and treat the environment and your pets.

Flea bombs to treat your house

Containing an insect growth regulator to break the breeding cycle, flea bombs offer a simple, fast, and long-lasting solution for killing eggs, larvae, and adult fleas in your home. 

Flea bombs are recommended if you have a serious infestation of fleas which also means that you and members of your household will also be being bitten along with your pets.

You and your pets will need to stay outside of your home while the product works. Read the directions to know when it is safe to return inside. 

Flea treatment for cats and dogs, kittens, and puppies

There is a range of options available, including spot-on flea treatment, flea collars, flea shampoo, flea powder, flea tablets and chews. 

Choosing a flea treatment depends on the age of your pet, whether they are pregnant or lactating, do they swim regularly, how frequently you want to give the treatment, what format will your pet best tolerate or is easiest for you to give, and do you want one that also kills worms, ticks, and ear mites?

There is a range of fantastic and effective options available, if you are needing any further advice or have any questions then don't hesitate to get in touch.

Ticks on dogs and cats

Ticks crawl on tall grass and shrubs and wait for a host, like your dog or cat, to pass by. They can wait for a year without feeding and are more common in Spring and warmer climates.

You can feel ticks when you stroke your cat or dog and you can see them. They most often attach near the head, neck, ears, eyes, or paws. 

Tick bite symptoms include irritation, anaemia and may lead to an abscess.

If you see a tick on your pet, do not pull it off, as that leaves the head behind. To remove a tick at home, try a little Vaseline to suffocate it, causing the tick to drop off. Call us if you need help.

The most convenient tick treatment is one combined with a pet’s flea treatment. 

Ear mites in dogs and cats

Ear mites are usually found in the ear canal, but they can also live on the skin's surface. Ear mites are highly contagious, and animals become infested by direct contact with another infested animal. The mite is small and barely visible to the naked eye.

Infestations are a common problem in puppies and kittens, although pets of any age can be affected. 

Signs of infestation include:

  • Ear irritation, scratching ears, head shaking
  • Dark waxy or crusty discharge from the ear
  • Areas of hair loss from scratching or excessive grooming
  • Scabby rash around or in the ear

Many flea treatments are also effective for controlling ear mites.


The above information is provided as an educational guide only and is not a substitute for advice from your pet’s healthcare professionals. If your pet’s symptoms continue, you are concerned about them, or want further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us!