Can you banish fleas from your dog once and for all? It’s possible, but it will take a lot of work.
It is difficult to rid a pet of fleas completely because fleas were designed by nature to be practically indestructible. But with diligence and patience, you can get rid of fleas from your dogs and cats – and home – forever.
Fleas can enter your home via your pets at any time. A single flea can jump up to six feet and even if the cats in your home are indoo- only kitties, fleas can arrive via humans, ride in on a grocery bag….and come in with you after you take your dog for a walk.
You’ll be able to tell if a pet has fleas if you see tiny black spots in the pet’s fur. These are flea eggs and they are smaller than pieces of sand. You also may see fleas walking through your pet’s fur.
You’ll need to act fast once you detect fleas either on a pet, on you, on a piece of furniture, or on the carpet because one flea can become a million fleas in just six weeks. One flea can lay 1,000 eggs in just one week. Most of those fleas will go on to lay their own 1,000 offspring and then – presto, chango! – you have a home infested with fleas!
Even if you have these millions of fleas in your home, you probably won’t see that many on your dog because only about 5 percent take to Fido for their home: the rest are living in your home!
You’re going to need to set aside a morning or afternoon to focus on the first step in getting rid of fleas.
First, you will vacuum your entire house. All of it! You will vacuum under furniture and beds, pet beds, on rugs (especially around baseboards), corners, crevices, and more. Not only will you suck up a good number of fleas and – more importantly – their eggs, larvae and pupae, the vibration from the vacuum will stimulate cocooning fleas to emerge from their cocoons. All the easier to expose them to the insecticide you’ll use next.
You’ll next want to spray all rugs, floors, furniture, drapes, and any place your pet sleeps with an insecticide that contains IGR. (If using an aerosol spray, make sure you get under furniture, under throw rugs, etc.) You can use a flea bomb, fogger or aerosol spray, but make sure it kills flea eggs, their larvae and emerging adult fleas. Brands in the U.S. that have IGR include IG Regulator, Hartz 4-in-1 Flea Fogger and Precor 2000 Plus.
Why IGR? IGR actually stands for Insect Growth Regulator. Some people refer to it as “birth control” for fleas because its protein attacks developing flea eggs and larvae and also stops fleas from developing to adulthood (so they can’t lay eggs).
Make sure you follow all use instructions on the insecticide to the letter.
After using an IGR insecticide, don’t vacuum for about two weeks so that the protein component can work its magic.
Chances are that you will notice more fleas in about two weeks. This is because it’s almost impossible to vacuum up all flea larvae, which are protected from the insecticide by their cocoons. If you notice more fleas in about two weeks, repeat the entire process and continue doing so until you don’t see more fleas.
As you’re treating your home environment, you’ll have to treat your pet. You should first comb the pet with a flea comb to remove fleas and flea eggs, etc. Then you need to shampoo the pet with a good, safe “flea-dip” shampoo.
Wash your pet’s bedding and any other bedding (a favorite easy chair, your bedspread) where your pet sleeps. If you can’t remove the upholstery, vacuum the piece of furniture thoroughly and do so at least weekly.
Inspect your pet for fleas and flea eggs every time he or she comes in from the outdoors. Use the flea comb and shampoo as needed.
Check with your veterinarian or local pet store for flea top-spots or tablets with which to treat your pet.
As for outside, you can use the same IGR insecticide as you used indoors. Spray in crevices, in sandy and graveled spots, patios, decks, verandahs, outdoor kennels, etc.
Even if you can’t get rid of all fleas once and for all, doing the above work – and we do realize it is work – can go a long way to ridding your home and pet from most fleas.
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