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What to Do About Fleas

By Madeleine Burry. May 09, 2013 | See Comments

What to Do About Fleas

Treating for fleas can seem like a never-ending process, as new fleas hatch the moment you get rid of the adults. Use these tips to completely eradicate fleas from your home and pets.

If your home or your pet or both have fleas, you might be feeling a bit hopeless. Because of the abundant number of eggs that fleas lay during their lifetime, it can be a challenge to get rid of them completely. Even thoroughly removing all the fleas from your home is not sufficient, since you need to also get rid of all of those eggs and future fleas. Don’t despair: with a few cleaning tactics, and some powerful pesticides, you can solve this problem, and get yourself, your home, and your pet back to a flea-free state.

Treatment Options for Fleas:

There are a few different options available for flea prevention for dogs and cats -- note that it’s important to check if your treatment method is for use on cats or on dogs, since medications and treatments aren’t necessarily interchangeable.

  • Flea Powders: Flea powders are applied directly to your pet and repel the fleas using chemicals. They can be a bit messy to apply.
  • Flea Shampoos: Flea shampoos eliminate fleas, but aren’t a preventative. In order to be effective, you’ll have to bathe your pet fairly frequently if they are in contact with fleas -- the merits of this treatment will depend somewhat on your pet’s disposition when it comes to baths.
  • Flea Collars: Flea collars, like Seresto, are used around your pet’s neck, and destroy fleas. However, it’s important to note these collars aren’t always very effective toward fleas that land elsewhere on your pet -- like their legs, stomach, and behind.
  • Topical, Spot-on Treatments: Topical treatments, such as Revolution, are applied directly to your pet’s shoulder blades and ward off fleas. They spread the medication over your pet’s entire coat through the oil on your pet’s skin.
  • Oral Medications: Pills from brands like Capstar and Trifexis can stop the eggs from hatching -- used in combination with another treatment that goes after the adult fleas, this can be a good way to halt the perpetuation of the flea life cycle.

Removing Fleas From Your Home:

If you have fleas on your pet, in all likelihood, they are inside your home as well. In order to get your home flea-free, start by cleaning carefully with an extra focus on areas where your pet commonly hangs out. Vacuum thoroughly, use the nozzle of the vacuum to get in cracks and crevices, and to go over furniture that can’t be washed otherwise. Put fabric -- like couch covers, the pet’s bed, and rugs -- in the washer and dryer. You can also use a spray with an insect growth inhibitor, which will prevent the eggs from hatching, stopping the life cycle of the flea.

If fleas in your yard are a concern, keep grass well-trimmed. Fleas don’t like bright sun, so eliminate shady areas to make your backyard inhospitable. There are also chemical treatment sprays that can be used in your backyard to disrupt the life cycle if fleas are a problem out there -- make sure to avoid using these sprays near anything that you or your pet might eat. You can likely target your use of these sprays to shady areas in the yard, where fleas may congregate.

More on Treating for Fleas

My Dog Still Has Fleas!
Flea and Tick Prevention and Treatment Options
Combining Flea Treatments: What's Safe
Get Rid of Fleas in 8 Steps Infographic

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