Five million homes in the UK are at risk of flea infestation

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A new study has revealed that millions of British homes are at risk of a flea infestation because over a third of pet owners have never treated their home for fleas and other common pests.

Worryingly, almost a quarter of pet owners don’t regularly clean their home despite as many as eight in ten describing themselves as house proud.

The research of 2,000 dog and cat owners found, even when their animals have suffered from an outbreak of fleas, a quarter of respondents took no steps at all to rid their homes of a possible infestation.

The study was commissioned by Bob Martin, the UK’s leading brand name for pet healthcare who teamed up with Aggie Mackenzie to identify the most likely breeding grounds for infestations with under the sofa, in between cushions and at the corners of carpets top hotspots.

And despite fleas, ticks and worms being a health risk to humans, around half of respondents said their cats and dogs typically sleep in their bedroom with them, while 15 per cent of owners said their pets will sleep in their child’s bedroom.

Aggie MacKenzie, TV’s cleaning expert, said: “These figures are pretty shocking and the people of Britain should be ashamed of themselves!

“It’s no good your home just looking tidy, you have to get stuck in and give it a proper clean, particularly if you have pets.

“Your favourite animal can carry all sorts of germs and grime in from outdoors, as well as fleas and ticks.

“That’s why regular cleaning and flea treatment is of the utmost importance for a hygienic and healthy home environment for both you and your pets.”

Over a third of people said they have had fleas in their homes, but over a quarter have no idea whether their house or pets have ever had fleas or not.

Fleas thrive in warmer weather and while the research revealed that two thirds of those polled believe they would know what do if there was a flea infestation, less than half (42%) treated their home for fleas when their pet had them.

In fact, 95 per cent of fleas do not live on animals, but in wood floor crevices, carpets and soft furnishings in the home and they can remain living in the cracks for up to two years.

The kitchen, living room and main bedroom are where British pets spend most of their time revealed the Bob Martin research, but on average pet owners only wash the kitchen floor every two weeks and change bedding every other week.

Almost half of respondents wash their pet’s bedding once a month or less, a quarter (27%) will never wash or change their sofa covers, and one in five (22%) admit they never change their rugs or mats - all breeding grounds for fleas and larvae.

Top flea hotspots:

Fleas prefer dark areas where dirt and debris gather:

Under the sofa

In between sofa cushions

Floor board crevices

Skirting boards

The edges/corners of carpet

Curtains

Rugs

Pet’s bedding

Top Flea Facts:

The majority of pet owners surveyed did not know:

Fleas can lay eggs anywhere in the home

Fleas like temperatures over 20 degrees

Fleas do suggest a dirty home as fleas feed on dirt and debris

Fleas like the cracks in between wooden floors, skirting boards and under furniture where dirt and debris gathers

Fleas can live in pets’ bedding

Cat fleas are more common than dog fleas, but dogs can have cat fleas

Fleas can carry diseases

Young animals are at risk of anaemia from a flea infestation

Pet owners become less responsive to flea bites so may not realise their house is infested