Vets are warning an expected flea plague this spring could pass on bacterial infections and tapeworms.
A mild winter and the hot, long summer forecast are the perfect conditions for what's expected to be the one of the worst plagues of fleas New Zealand has seen.
"This year it looks like it's going to be worse than ever," says veterinarian Kirstie Inglis.
"We're really keen to avoid suffering from animals and potentially humans in the household as well, because they are really painful little bites."
She says households need to de-flea their pets, hot-wash pet beds and keep on top of vacuuming.
Ms Inglis says fleas can bide their time as pupae for up to 12 months, so preventing the environmental build-up is key.