Dealing With Flea Infestations Dealing With Flea Infestations

The pleasure of owning a dog or cat usually comes with the risk of dealing with the occasional flea infestation.

Fall is the worst season for fleas to spread. Fleas usually stay with one host until they die, consuming up to 15 times their own body weight in blood every day. The female will lay up to 27 eggs in day which will hatch in 2 to 5 days. The entire life cycle can last up to 1 year.

You must launch a comprehensive attack to stop the infestation on all fronts. Keep in mind that washing a dog or cat will only kill the adult fleas, but will do nothing to exterminate the eggs or pupae stage. You will need IDI (Insect Development Inhibitor) and IGR (Insect Growth Regulator) products.

Recognize Early Signs

Your best way to defeat fleas is with early detection. ...




  • Comb and Drown - Apply petroleum jelly onto the comb and brush through your pet's fur. Pay specific attention to the favored areas of fleas: the toes, ears, leg pits and under the neck. Frequently clean off the comb in a bucket of hot soapy water to kill the clinging pests.
  • Wash or Dip - There are several commercial products available for at-home treatments. Many of these contain both IGR and IDI properties. Talk to your veterinarian or visit a local pet supply for recommended products.
  • Vacuum and Launder - The areas frequently visited by your pet need to be attacked first. Clean the hard surfaces with pine oil. Don't miss the area around the base boards, since eggs are frequently found in these small hidden cracks. Add cornstarch to your dust collection bag, and then vacuum the furniture and carpet several times. Wash fabrics in hot water, including area rugs, carpets, throws and any surfaces your pet sleeps on, like towels or pillows. Immediately dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag, no matter how full it is. Flush dirty water down toilet.
  • Mow and Treat - Clip your lawn close to the ground. Treat it with an IGR product. If your dog has a dog house, implement the same treatments as you would inside the house.
  • Fumigate or Fog - In some cases, all of the above may not be enough to rid your home of its flea infestation. Enlist the help of an exterminator or purchase a veterinary-recommended whole house fogger.

Environment Control

  • Designate a specific sleep area for your pet. Launder the bedding, adding 1 tsp of oil of ceder to the wash load. Dry items in the dryer, using the highest heat possible.
  • Spritz your furniture, stuffed animals, pillows and other common use fabrics with a mix of 1 quart water, 1 tsp tea tree oil and 1/8 cup of lemon juice.
  • Apply pet-specific  flea killers and deterrents to your pet. These products come in sprays, powders, collars, tablets or liquid forms. Match the application to the personality of your pet. 
  • Regular mowing and watering will help to minimize flea population in your yard.

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