Preventing Flea Infestation in Cats and Dogs

BY | December 14 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
Preventing Flea Infestation in Cats and Dogs

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Of the 26 serious health perils, your dog can potentially suffer, fleas are responsible for two. A flea-infested pooch that scratches itself raw can develop ulcers and bacterial infection. Dog allergies, which can range from mild to severe, are most often caused by flea bites. Fleas also make cats vulnerable to infection and cause anemia in kittens. 

As a responsible pet owner, the onus is on you to control fleas in your pet and your environment. However, sometimes you can get confused about which treatment would be best for your four-legged friend. If this is the case with you, then this article will eliminate your confusion about flea treatment for cats and flea treatment for dogs. 

How to keep fleas away from your indoor and outdoor living space

The best place to treat fleas is, well, your home. Unless your rooms are flea-free, you cannot expect your pet to stop scratching, licking, and whining.

  • Vacuuming can help get rid of almost 50 percent of flea eggs residing on your furniture and curtains. Start by vacuuming high-traffic areas and your pet’s sleeping area. Secure your vacuum bag in a plastic bag and dispose of it immediately.

  • It is a good idea to invest in a fogger and a surface spray. Use the fogger to disinfect open, spacious areas of your home. The surface spray is ideal for hard-to-reach areas under the furniture, cracks, moldings, and baseboards. When choosing these products, remember to: consult your veterinarian for safety advice, especially when you have children, birds, fish, or asthmatic family members. Focus on solutions that not only kill adult fleas but also halt the development of eggs and larvae, and get a second opinion from a professional exterminator for acute infestations. Flea spray helps to remove parasites that are troubling your pet by sucking their blood.

  • Cleaning, fogging, and surface spraying should also include other areas of your home, such as your garage, attic, and/or basement.

  • It is important that you wash your pet’s bedding weekly and treat it with suitable products to control fleas and allergies.

  • Flea pupae stick to carpet fibers and can be difficult to remove. If possible, consider replacing your carpet with washable area rugs.

As far as the outdoors are concerned, tackle the natural habitat of fleas: straw, leaves, grass clippings, and unused wood pallets. Also, deploy fences or meshes to keep rodents, raccoons, and other flea-carrying pests away from your backyard. 

Flea treatments for your pet

Thankfully, there are a number of flea control products that kill pesky insects and can be used safely on your pets. At the very basic, you can bathe your dog or cat with medicated shampoo (every 2-3 weeks) that kills fleas on contact.

Topical insecticides - meant to be applied once a month - also kill fleas and ticks. Some of these products are intended only for dogs and some for cats, so do read the label carefully when you’re out shopping. Spot-on treatments are popular among cat owners. A few drops of this potent medication are translocated all over your pet’s body via its oil glands, killing and repelling fleas for several weeks. 

Oral medications, in the form of flea control pills meant to be administered once a month to disrupt the lifecycle of fleas. When used for a year or more, they can eliminate fleas completely. Sentinel chews for dogs, for instance, not only keep dogs safe from fleas but also prevent intestinal worms.

How to Prevent Fleas From Biting Your Pet

If your pet scratches excessively and you notice black specks (flea dirt) on your pet, then there is a good chance that your pet is suffering from flea infestation. If the flea infestation is just minor, then a simple bath in lukewarm water should help eliminate the fleas. If it’s more serious, then you want to bathe your pet with an anti-flea shampoo immediately. Of course, the effects of anti-flea shampoo are not long-lasting, and here are some other flea treatment methods you can use to completely get rid of fleas.

Spot treatment

Apply spot medication in all the problem areas. These medications immediately get to work and bring the flea lifecycle to a stop. Their effect does not wear off due to exposure to water. They will keep fleas away from your pet for weeks, after which you will have to re-apply it. Despite what the name may suggest, these medications actually extend their effects to the whole body, as the oil glands transfer them from the problem sites to other areas in your pet. While flea powders are an effective way to repel fleas, they may leave your pet’s coat all itchy and dry.

Flea collars

Flea collars can be a better solution than spot-on treatments as they last for months, unlike the latter, whose effects wear off within a few weeks. Flea collars for cats and flea collars for dogs emit a gas that helps repel fleas. They also have an active flea infestation remedial action wherein the medication infuses into the pet’s skin and spreads through the skin oils to kill any fleas that are present. 

Just make sure that the collar is not left hanging once secured around your pet, as you do not want your pet to chew on it. You won't keep a close watch on your pet after securing the flea collar, to see if he has an allergic response to it, in which case you want to remove the collar immediately and try some other flea treatment. You can use a seresto flea collar for effective and quick results. 

Keep your home flea-free

Ticks are a common pest that can spread disease to both humans and animals. They can be found on your pet as well as inside your home, so it's important to check for these tiny blood-suckers every day. If you notice a tick on your cat or dog, remove it right away—if you leave it in place for too long, they have the ability to burrow into their host’s skin or fur and lay eggs that hatch into larvae over time. 

If you have found fleas on your pet, then there is a good chance that other places in your house that are frequented by your pet are infested by fleas as well. Yes, that means merely treating your pet with anti-flea medication will not help, as there are flea larva, pupae, and eggs strewn around the house. Wash your pet’s belongings in hot water to eliminate the fleas. Vacuum your home thoroughly to get rid of any fleas that are still in the early stages of their lifecycle. You can use sprays to clear out fleas inside your house. Clear your garden off fleas with a pest control treatment.

Flea Medicine

Flea and tick meds for cats and dogs kill fleas in all life stages. Some products only kill adult fleas, while others will kill the entire life cycle of a flea, including eggs, larvae, pupae, and adult fleas. This is important because it can help prevent reinfestation of your pet with more larvae that hatch after you’ve applied the medicine. Most of the medicines are available in the form of pills. 

The most important benefit of flea pills for dogs and flea pills for cats is that it prevents fleas from hatching. Fleas lay eggs on your pet’s body, and these eggs fall off onto the ground, where they can survive for months in dry conditions. These eggs will then be carried by the wind or feet back onto your pet, creating a cycle of infestation. If your cat or dog doesn’t come into contact with other animals outside, however, they likely won't need to be treated with any type of preventative medication—this is especially true if you live in an area where there aren't many wild animals roaming around all year long. 

The benefits of flea medicine for cats and flea medicine for dogs are numerous. It helps keep your pet healthy, happy, and free from the discomfort of fleas. A cat or dog with a healthy coat feels good to the touch and looks more attractive than one that has irritated, flaky skin caused by scratching in an attempt to dislodge biting fleas. It also helps keep your house clean; no more picking up dead bugs.

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