Pets in Scotland are at greater risk than most in the UK of flea infestations, with 35 per cent of owners not providing flea treatment, compared to the national average of 20 per cent.
Approximately 3m UK pets are at risk of flea infestations this spring, despite vet advice to owners to protect their four-legged friends from the blood-sucking parasites.
Milder winters and widespread central heating have seen the UK flea population swell in recent years, say PDSA vets. But proactive action by pet owners can easily prevent infestations and stop millions of cats and dogs across the country from suffering.
New findings from the PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report – the biggest annual assessment of pet welfare – reveal that over 1.5 million dogs and 1.4 million cats are not receiving the necessary treatments to safeguard them from becoming a meal ticket for fleas.
PDSA Head of Pet Health and Welfare Nicola Martin said: “Fleas are now a year-round problem thanks to milder winters and warmer homes. Untreated flea infestations can cause chronic animal suffering, so flea prevention is a must for all responsible pet owners. Even if your pets don’t go outside, flea eggs and larvae can still easily be brought into the home on clothing and shoes.
“The PDSA PAW Report has highlighted big regional variations when it comes to flea prevention. Scottish pets are in the greatest danger of infestation, with over a third of owners admitting they don’t treat their pets for fleas. Welsh pets don’t fare much better, with more than a quarter unprotected. In comparison, pets in the South West are the most protected, with nearly nine–in-ten owners taking the right steps. Regardless of where you live, regular parasite treatment is vital for all pets, to stop them suffering unnecessarily.”