Sometimes, despite our best efforts, fleas find their way into our homes and onto us and our animals. Maybe it’s because you live in an apartment, and they hitch a ride on your pants leg on your way in. Maybe your dog picked one up on a walk. Or perhaps your selected flea treatment didn’t last as long as you expected it to, or wasn’t even effective at all.
No matter the reason, we’ve got a few tips on how to eliminate a flea infestation. Be vigilant, because the earlier you identify a flea problem, the easier it is to get it under control!
Putting an end to the infestation
The fleas have gotten past your defenses and into your home. What now? How do you and your pet stay healthy and put an end to your misery?
Attaining the best results is going to depend on the severity of infestation. After all, just giving your pet a shampoo treatment isn’t going to help if there’s already eggs, larva, and adults living in your carpet. At a certain point, a simple house spray may be enough, or a carpet treatment, or you may need both. Of course, if the infestation is very severe, you may want talk to your vet about the risks and benefits of certain types of solutions.
Treating the Pet
The first point of control should be your pet. Even if they aren’t the source of an infestation, this will help mitigate discomfort and health risks. Even dogs and cats that spend most or all of their time indoors can still get fleas, and fleas are quite happy to live and breed indoors. A once-monthly oral medication will help interfere with the early life stages of new fleas. There are several on the market, and they all have their pros and cons. Be sure to talk to us about your options!
Every animal in the house needs to be on flea control. If you allow fleas to feed and breed on a untreated pet, you will never get them under control. Remember to keep combing your pet; this will let you know if the selected treatment is working as expected.
Treating the House
In an infestation, treating your animal won’t be enough. Treating your home and your yard are important steps to ensuring the fleas are gone for good. This is likely to require a combination of treatments — after all, no one treatment can cover everything. This may require a bit of spending, and it will definitely require patience. Hiring professional exterminators will work as well. They are trained in what to look for in your yard and home, and have the tools necessary to fully treat your home.
You should regularly vacuum to prevent flea eggs and larva from settling in, as well as regularly clean bedding etc. Vacuum up some flea powder or put a flea collar or “No Pest Strip” in the vaccum bag to kill fleas that you vacuum up.
Flea bombs are an easy way to treat a room, but it will require multiple bombs to treat multiple rooms. Another downside is that it leaves some areas untreated (e.g., inside closets, drawers, or cabinets, or even underneath furniture) and leaves a residue that can contaminate food or be harmful to pets and humans if not used properly.
Flea sprays are available that hit the life cycle of the flea in two places. They contain an adulticide to kill the adult fleas, and an insect growth regulator that prevents flea larvae from developing into an adult flea. Siphotrol is one such spray, and we keep it in stock so let us know if you need some. The flea life cycle can be as short as 16 days, so spray the house every 14 days for 3 treatments to break the life cycle.
Another option is carpet powders which are spread out on the floor, swept into the carpet and crevises, and then are vacuumed up. These are harder to come by, and often are not available in regular stores, but they are long lasting. Unfortunately, you cannot spread it on furniture, and it takes a good bit of work.
Treating the Yard
Flea insecticides are also available for your yard. Like indoor treatments, you should always read all the instructions and follow them carefully. We carry a product called Vet-Kem Yard spray that you can hook up to your hose and spray the yard. You don’t need to spray the whole yard, just shady areas, as fleas can’t survive out in the bright sunlight. Make sure your pets and/or children don’t play in the area until the process is finished.
As you can imagine, we see lots of pets with flea infestation, and have spent a lot of time figuring out what works and what doesn’t. If your pet is have a flea problem, make an appointment with one of our doctors and we will advise you on the best way to get this problem under control.