Rising flea population leaves millions of UK pets at risk of infestations this spring, according to PDSA.

Flea” by ErturacOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Milder winters and widespread central heating have seen the UK flea population increase, say PDSA vets.

New findings from the PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report – the biggest annual assessment of pet welfare – reveal more than 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 more than 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 10 owners taking the right steps. Regardless of where you live, regular parasite treatment is vital for all pets to stop them suffering unnecessarily.”

The PDSA PAW Report has revealed where pets are most at risk, due to a lack of flea treatment.

The percentage of pet owners not giving flea treatments by region are: 

  • Scotland (35%)
  • Wales (26%)
  • west midlands (23%)
  • east midlands (20%)
  • London (20%)
  • east of England (19%)
  • north-west (17%)
  • Yorkshire and the Humber (17%)
  • south-east (17%)
  • south-west (13%)
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