Once you’ve gotten rid of your pet’s fleas, you should be home-free, right? Unfortunately, no. When it comes to flea control in your home, getting the pests off your pet is just the first step.
Follow these 7 steps to flea control in your home and you and your pet will be living the itch-free life again in no time.
1. Bathe Pets Regularly
Even though only about 10 percent of the flea population that is now infesting your home lives on your pet, those pests are creating the main cause of home flea infestations, eggs that grow into larva and eventually into adult fleas. These eggs, which are laid in the pet’s coat, can be transferred to carpets, furniture, bedding -- pretty much wherever your pet rests, sleeps or spends most of their time.
It’s best to give your pet a bath every two to three weeks, and not more often since you don’t want to strip their coat of necessary oils. Every other bath, use a flea shampoo containing Precor, an Insect Growth Regulator, as well as natural moisturizers like oatmeal, coconut extract, lanolin, and aloe. Just be sure to read the label carefully. Certain products are made specifically for cats, dogs, kittens, or puppies. In severe cases you can use a flea dip but you should speak with your vet beforehand.
We’re talking everything from collars to lotions to combs. Once you’ve given your pet a bath, grab a flea comb. Combing out fleas is actually one of the best ways to control fleas, since the fleas get caught in the comb's teeth and are removed from your pet's coat. But there’s still the issue of the eggs, so you’ll want to choose lotions, powders, and collars that contain an Insect Growth Regulator to prevent eggs from hatching.
Oral tablets and other medications control fleas on pets for longer stints, typically one to three months. These medications contain an Insect Growth Regulator such as Lufenuron that causes the female fleas’ eggs to be unable to hatch. Just be sure to check with your vet before pairing collars, flea baths, and medications, or any combination thereof. You don’t want to overdose your pet.
4. Clean Carpets and Floors
The same day you bathe and groom your pet, be ready to clean house, literally. Adult fleas can lay up to 50 eggs a day and the majority of them will fall into your carpet and hatch into larvae that can burrow deep into carpet fibers. There they feed off the dry blood found in flea feces that has also fallen into the carpet.
You’ll want to shampoo your rug and wash your floors, as well as use an insecticide containing both an adulticide such as permethrin and an Insect Growth Regulator such as methoprene or pyriproxyfen. Zodiac Fogger is one of the few great home flea control products that's effective and produces no residual odor. Be sure to let the carpet and floors dry before allowing your pet back on them.
Regular vacuuming is also necessary, since it will pull the fleas, larvae, and eggs from the carpet. Just be sure to empty the bag regularly; if not, the eggs may hatch and cause re-infestation. It also helps to drop a flea collar into the vacuum bag as a preventive measure. When it comes to hardwood floors, you’ll want to focus on the room’s corners and beneath moldings.
5. Clean Bedding and Upholstery
This includes not only your pet’s bedding, but also your bedding and any furniture your pet likes to lounge on or near. You’d be surprised how many eggs are hidden, and larvae nestled, beneath couch cushions. Dry cleaning is a great option for bedding and removable furniture covers.
Again, use a product containing both an adulticide and an Insect Growth Regulator and be sure to let all surfaces dry before letting your pet come in contact with them. Some people prefer to use an incestide in the form of a “foggers” or “bug bombs” that include those active ingredients.
6.Clean the Air
Speaking of “foggers” or “bug bombs,” aerosol sprays are available that kill fleas on contact. Spraying them in entrance areas and under and behind beds, furniture, and other places your pets like to hang out is very important, since these are areas in which the infestation will thrive. You can choose one with natural active ingredients such as peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, lemon grass oil, thyme oil, and eugenol or an Insect Growth Regulator.
7. Clean the Yard
Keeping a clean home also entails keeping an eye on what’s being tracked into it. If your pet is an outdoor pet, there’s the chance they are bringing the infestation in from your yard. Common areas of infestation include patio furniture, under decks, along fencing, shrubs and bushes your pet may like to rest under, and doghouses. Using an insecticide containing chlorpyrifos or permethrin in these specific areas can be effective. You can purchase these as either a pump-up sprayer or a container that can easily be hooked up to your garden hose.
It can take two to four weeks for an infestation to be completely removed.
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