Tackling an existing flea infestation in your home is not an easy job – it requires treating not only your pet(s), but also your home and yard. Preventing fleas is the better choice!
Remember that the adult fleas that you see on your pet only represent 5% of the fleas in the environment. Large numbers of immature fleas (eggs, larvae and pupae stages) may be in your yard or in your home. Immature fleas hide in floor cracks, along base boards, under rug edges and in furniture and bedding. Within a few weeks, an adult female flea can produce thousands of offspring.
If you are have a continuing flea problem even after treating your pet, you should consider these factors:
- Whether you use a topical product (such as Frontline® or Advantage®) or a prescription tablet (NexGard® or Trifexis®), ALL the dogs and cats in the household need to be treated. Remember that flea products specifically labeled for dogs should not be used on cats, and vice versa. Make sure that each pet receives the correct dosage, based on his/her individual weight.
- If you use a topical product, make sure it is applied to the pet’s skin – not just on the hair coat.
- Treating fleas is never a one time fix! Use the selected product once a month for a minimum for 3-4 consecutive months. If you have just started your pet on a flea preventative, and especially if you have a severe infestation, it will take months to completely rid your house of fleas. Even as adult fleas are killed, eggs will continue to hatch out, maturing in about 21 days. In addition, the pupal stage of development is particularly resistant to chemicals and may require several treatments for eradication.
- Even if you treat your pets regularly, they can still pick up fleas from untreated animals that have access to your yard or home. These untreated animals include not only your neighbor’s pets, but wild animals such as rodents or raccoons. This is particularly true if animals can get under your house or porch. Blocking access to these areas, which are perfect environments for flea growth, can help you get the problem under control.
- Eliminate the fleas’ preferred nesting areas. Remove brush and undergrowth from around your home. Get rid of any upholstered furniture on your porch or in the garage (even if it’s your pet’s favorite hang-out). Wash all bedding in the hottest water possible. If the bedding is too large to wash, place it in direct sunlight for a day (the flea eggs and larva cannot survive in direct sun for more than a few hours). Vacuum frequently and dispose of the vacuum bag by placing it in a sealed plastic bag.
- If your pet is bathed frequently or swims on a regular basis, topical preventatives may be removed. Be sure to use a soap-free shampoo (ask us for recommendations). Make sure that your pet is completely dry before a topical product is applied (we recommend waiting 24 hours). For dogs that are regular swimmers, the tablet preventatives may be a better choice.
- Remember that fleas are more than an inconvenience. Tapeworms, which are spread to our pets when they ingest an infected flea, can require treatment. Fleas are also suspected of being a factor in the transmission of cat scratch disease to people.
Please call us if you have any questions or need help in resolving your pet’s flea problem.