How Do You Stop a Flea Infestation? Learn How to Fight a Flea Pandemic

BY | September 19 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
How Do You Stop a Flea Infestation?

K9 Advantix II for Dogs

Flea & Tick
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When dealing with fleas, it's important to attack them head on and as early as possible. Here are some great ways to rid yourself of these pests quickly and efficiently.

To remove fleas from your house and your pet completely, itโ€™s vital to attack the infestation at all four stages of a fleaโ€™s life. Destroying the eggs is particularly important. Also key is to kill fleas living on your pet; not only do fleas cause discomfort for your pet, but they will continue to lay eggs.

Remove Fleas from Your Cat or Dog:

There are several methods for flea prevention for dogs and cats, with differing degrees of severity. Your veterinarian can advise you on which method is most appropriate for your cat or dog.

  • Shampoo: Flea shampoos will kill fleas on contact. Check carefully to see if the shampoo you purchase will also attack larva and eggs since some shampoos only target adult fleas, which only temporarily solves the problem. 
  • Flea Powder & Sprays: Flea powders and sprays can be applied to your pet to kill fleas (both adult fleas and eggs). Again, check carefully when purchasing powers to ensure that it will kill eggs since not all powders do. Note also that powders can cause your petโ€™s skin to dry out.  
  • Flea Collars: Of the two varieties of flea collars, the most effective type, like Seresto, emits a toxin that is absorbed into your petโ€™s skin. This toxin contains an insecticide that kills fleas. Other kinds of collars emit gas toxic to fleasโ€”these collars are effective at eradicating fleas around your petโ€™s head but do not have an impact on fleas further away on your petโ€™s body.
  • Spot Treatments: Spot treatments like Frontline and Advantage attack the fleaโ€™s nervous system. They also contain chemicals that attack larva and prevent eggs from hatching. These treatments generally protect animals from fleas for a month or more.
  • Oral Medicine: Most oral flea prescription medicines work by attacking the fleas in their larva or egg state, preventing fleas from reaching adulthood. Some newer medicines can also target adult fleas.

De-Flea Your Home

Youโ€™ll want to attack removing fleas from your house at the same time as you work to get fleas removed from your pet.

  • Vacuum: Use your vacuum thoroughly โ€“ pay particular attention to any nooks and crannies, and go over carpeting multiple times. Vacuum carefully around the area where your pet typically sleeps. Vacuuming removes the fleaโ€™s eggs, which prevents the fleaโ€™s life cycle from perpetuating. The nozzle attachment of your vacuum will be helpful with corners, the baseboard, and along cracks.  Dispose of vacuum bags carefully, since it contains flea eggs.
  • Wash sheets, towels, bedding, etc: Wash fabric on the hottest cycle possible, and dry on a high heat as well. If you have a dog bed, remember to wash that as well.
  • Insecticide: After vacuuming, you can apply insecticide to carpets and surfaces. The most effective insecticides contain Insect Growth Regulator, or IGR, which acts to stop fleas from being able to give birth. You can apply insecticide yourself, be careful to wash dishes and surfaces afterward or use a professional. Insecticides come in the form of foggers or powders.

If you live in a warm climate prone to fleasโ€”or if youโ€™re having a particularly difficult time getting rid of the fleas in your houseโ€”you may find it helpful to remove your carpet entirely. Carpets provide a comfortable breeding ground for fleas and are also difficult to clean completely. Keep in mind that fleas prefer warm, humid environments.

Prevent Fleas from Getting Back In

Once your home and pet are flea-free, youโ€™ll want to make sure to avoid tracking fleas back inside. Since fleas are capable of jumping nearly a foot vertically, itโ€™s easy for dogs, outdoor cats, or you (from shoes) to track fleas back into the house.

There are a few simple steps to make your yard and garden an unfriendly habitat for fleas:

  • Trim grass: Keep your grass trimmed very short. This will increase the amount of direct sunlight, and create an inhospitable environment for fleas, who cannot survive in extremely hot and dry climates.
  • Spray Insecticide: Use your garden hose to spray insecticide on your garden and grass, avoiding spraying near vegetables and flowers.

Since flea eggs can take a few weeks to hatch, be mindful that this process may have to be repeated a few times until all eggs are eradicated.

Flea and Tick Prevention and Treatment Options 

With all the flea and tick prevention and treatment options out there, it can be difficult to know what you need. With various medications like Nexgard and Revolution for dogs, it can be tough to decide what is best for your pet.

Keeping your pets, family, and home safe from fleas and ticks is best achieved through preventative measures and consistency. Be proactive with the tips below and consult your veterinarian about the best methods of treatment for your pet when in doubt.

Prevention is the best method of controlling fleas and ticks, but if your pets get either fleas or ticks, consider both your home and pets infested and work swiftly to avoid a larger problem. If any of your pets have had fleas or ticks, there can be more of them in your home.  

With all of the flea and tick products out there, it could be difficult to decide on a proper course of action. We hope this guide will help keep you and your pets in great health, the best way--flea and tick-free.

Flea and Tick Control Types

Spot-on treatmentssprays (like Frontline Spray), and oral medications such as Credelio for dogs are the most common and effective means of flea and tick prevention and treatment. Some prevent, others treat, some do both, read on to learn more about your options. Keep in mind that most of these products are not recommended for dogs and cats under 6 weeks of age.

Spot-On Treatments

Spot-on treatments like Frontline Plus and K9 Advantix are the most popular for good reason--they work. They are sold in monthly doses and you apply the liquid in each dose to the skin on your pet's back once a month. They're relatively inexpensive, generally have no side effects, apply easily, prevent fleas and ticks from hosting on your pet, and kill them when they try. There are some differences among popular spot-on treatments to consider before choosing the best option for you and your pet.

Sprays

Sprays are another useful product for flea and tick prevention and treatment. Sprays kill fleas and ticks on contact. While alcohol-based sprays are usually highly effective, they can have unwanted side effects on certain pets (and even people who apply them). Certain sprays can be used alongside topical medications, or applied between dipping, while others function over an extended period of time, working to keep eggs from hatching. Always read the package information for instructions on use and any possible interactions with other flea and tick products and medications.

Oral Flea and Tick Control

Oral medications are useful in that they provide protection for your dogโ€™s entire body, whereas sprays and rinses might leave some areas of your dog vulnerable to fleas and ticks. There are some oral medications that serve to protect your dog solely from ticks, and others that will protect your dog only from fleas. As with all medications, be sure to read the directions carefully, as dosages differ from one medication to the next.

How to Check Your Pet for Fleas and Ticks

Thoroughly check your pets for fleas and ticks on a daily basis, particularly in warmer months, which you can do while grooming or playing with them. Fleas and ticks can be anywhere on your pet's body but prefer attaching themselves near the head, neck, ears, and paws. You may feel a tick bump before you actually see a tick.

Evidence of fleas can be found in the flea dirt they leave behind in your petsโ€™ coats and skin. Flea dirt is black specks that resemble pepper or bits of dirt, which are actually flea fecal matter. You can detect flea dirt by holding a white paper towel beneath your pet and running a metal comb through their coat (touching their skin). If either the comb or the paper towel produces black specks, thereโ€™s a good chance they have fleas. If you come across live fleas while following this method, drown them in soapy water, as they could potentially jump onto you or your pet. Then move on to treating your flea problem.  

Controlling Fleas and Ticks in Your Home

Whether youโ€™re using sprays, spot-on treatments, topical treatments, or oral medications, you should keep in mind that if your pets do get fleas and/or ticks, the adults are only a small percentage of the total infestation. The majority of fleas and ticks in a given infestation are the eggs, larvae, and pupa, which are probably throughout your home, primarily in your petsโ€™ living areas. If fleas and ticks are in your home, theyโ€˜re likely to be found in the cracks or crevices of walls, upholstered furniture, in bedding, and even beneath carpeting.

But don't panic!

First, treat your pet. Capstar is a highly effective pill that works for 24 hours and kills most fleas within 4 hours. It can be taken daily for up to two weeks and works for dogs and cats.

Controlling fleas and ticks in your home is best achieved through a process of thorough vacuuming, and using an approved insecticide and insect growth regulator (IGR). IGRs work to keep the egg and larvae of fleas from developing, stopping the next cycle of fleas from maturing. Some approved sprays containing IGRs (such as Adams Plus) are particularly effective, as they can be applied to a variety of surfaces. When fleas and ticks get beneath carpeting, vacuuming wonโ€™t be enough. Foggers, such as Adams Plus Fogger can kill fleas and ticks beneath carpets. Take any throw rugs, bedding, and fabrics that can be removed from upholstery and wash them in water as hot as the fabric allows.

Controlling Fleas and Ticks in Your Outside Environment

It isnโ€™t difficult to ensure a tick-free environment outside your home, but it takes some consistency. If possible, install barriers that enclose your property, preventing animals from passing through your yard. Regularly mow your lawn, take care to keep your bushes trimmed, and remove any mulch or leaf litter. This creates a less hospitable environment for fleas and ticks. Keep garbage containers tightly closed. Making waste inaccessible reduces stray animals and/or rodents (common flea and tick hosts) from passing through your property. If you bring your pets outdoors, make sure that they are protected with some form of flea and tick treatment and avoid tall grasses or brushes.

A Note on Flea and Tick Control in Cats

Treatments that are perfectly suitable for dogs can be toxic to cats. Cats are particularly sensitive to chemicals, so make sure to read all labels carefully and be absolutely certain that you are using a method of treatment designed for cats. Advantage II for Cats is made specifically for our feline friends.

Best Tick and Flea Control for Dogs and Cats Chart

What do you do when you need tick and flea control for dogs and cats? Every product reports to be the best flea and tick medicine for dogs and cats on the market now, like Advantage II or Comfortis, but picking the right one for your pet can be tricky! And dealing with ticks and fleas on dogs or cats can be enough of a headache as it is. We'd like to simplify the process for you with this convenient chart.

COMPARE FLEA and TICK MEDICATIONS

K9 Advantix II
for Dogs

$49.99

Perme-thrin;
Imidacloprid;
Pyriproxyfen

Monthly; topical

 
 
Frontline Plus
for Dogs & CATS

$49.99

Fipronil;
S-methoprene

Monthly; topical

     
 
PetArmor
for Dogs

$49.99

Fipronil

Monthly; topical

       
 
Advantage II
for Dogs & CATS

$49.99

Imidacloprid;
Pyriproxyfen

Monthly; topical

       
 
Comfortis
for DogS & CATS

$49.99

Spinosad

As prescribed; Oral

       
 
Seresto Flea and Tick Collar
for Dogs & CATS

$49.99

Flumethrin;
Imidacloprid

8 Months; collar

     
Compare Flea, Tick and Heartworm Medications

These medications require a prescription.

Revolution
for Dogs

$49.99

Selamectin

Monthly; topical

 
 
Revolution
for CATS

$49.99

Selamectin

Monthly; topical

     
 
Advantage Multi
for Dogs

$49.99

Imidacloprid,
Moxidectin

Monthly; topical

     

How PetPlus Can Help

Whatever medication you choose, PetPlus can help. All of the best flea and tick medicine, from Advantage II to Trifexis, can be purchased through PetPlus, and for a fraction of the price, you will find anywhere else. PetPlus is a membership program that is designed to make keeping your pet protected and healthy affordable for anybody.

Products Mentioned

Frontline Plus
K9 Advantix
Captstar
Adams Plus Carpet Spray
Adams Plus Fogger
Advantage II for Cats

More on Fleas and Ticks

How to Detect Fleas and Ticks
K9 Advantix vs. Frontline Plus for Dogs
How to Use Frontline Plus for Dogs

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis, or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professionals with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.

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  • coupon queen

    10/11/2013 2:56:58 PM

    One of the biggest issues with cats is hairballs. Where is info on hairball issues?

  • Toni Scott

    10/13/2013 2:03:04 AM

    is it good to feed a dog rice, greenbeans, or other vegetables, rather than the total recommended amount of dog foor. We use Neutro, but I have minpins and they look overweight, but act like they are starving!!!

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