The Flea Talk
How to Get Rid of Fleas?
How embarrassing. Your pet has fleas. Never fear, we won’t judge you. Fleas are the most common problem we see in dogs and cats.
Fleas are quite happy to sneak into our homes on clothing, feet, shoes, other pets/visitors, etc., so even strictly-indoor animals can get fleas. Of course, animals going outdoors are at the highest risk for contracting fleas.
There are several angles one needs to utilize to solve this problem. The issue is that fleas on the pet are only 5% of the population; the other 95% are in the form of eggs, larvae (caterpillar), and pupae (cocoon) in the environment. So not only do you need to treat your dog or cat, you may also need treat your home and yard with heavy infestations.
Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts if you mean business getting rid of fleas. Once you have decided to declare war on fleas, it will take at least 3 to 4 months of continued treatment of your pet to completely rid the house of fleas. Stick with it and eventually they will be gone.
Vacuum: corners, dark crevices, under furniture, beds, pet beds, rugs, skirting/baseboards. You are vacuuming up EGGS, LARVAE and PUPAE. Pupae are impervious to insecticides, chemicals, drying and freezing because of their heavy cocoon.
Note: Vibrations, body warmth and CO2 (expired air) present all at the same time stimulate the fleas to emerge from their cocoons and jump on the closest live animal (or you!) immediately.
Spray house and yard: We recommend an insect growth regulator (IGR) spray or bomb, used as directed on the bottle. IGR is like birth control for fleas- it stops eggs and larvae from maturing into adults. Of course, make sure you and the pets (especially birds, reptiles, fish) leave the area while using these sprays. Remember to spray under beds, couches, chairs, other furniture, too. Don’t vacuum for 2 weeks after this.
Note: because pupae are impervious to insecticides, they can hatch 2 weeks later so you might find more fleas then. In that case, repeat the vacuuming and IGR treatment as described above.
Spray your yard: where your pet sleeps outside, gravel, sandy areas, under the house if it is set up high, patios, verandahs, kennels, and any dark places (larvae avoid light).
Wash: all the bedding in HOT water. If you can, wash all dog beds, throw rugs, blankets and bedding which your pet often lies on.
Once you have broken the flea life cycle you will NOT have to spray on a regular basis; once the fleas have gone away you can refrain from using any more insecticide sprays in your home and environment. However, you will need to continue treating your pets year around.
Apply/give topical or oral flea control, monthly or as the package is labeled. For example: Nexgard tablets, Advantage topical, Seresto collars, or Trifexis tablets. See us for high quality products that work – many of the other products just aren’t effective anymore. You need to treat all dog and cat pets at the same time; otherwise, they could be sharing them back and forth.
VISITORS: Politely ask guests who have pets not to let their pet visit unless they have flea control medication administered within the past 2 weeks. One visit by a flea-infested dog or cat can start the flea cycle all over again.
MOVING: If you move to a new home where the previous occupants have had pets, or you are not sure, be safe. 1) Have the house deep cleaned including vacuuming as above, and spray BEFORE you move in. 2) Make sure your pets have fresh flea control administered before moving in, at least 48 hrs in advance. You want to remove them from the environment before you move in so they don’t have a chance to jump on your pets…or you!
- Flea population is 50% eggs, 35% larvae, 10% pupae, 5% biting adult fleas
- Fleas bite the pet, suck blood, lay eggs (within minutes) which then fall to the floor/bedding/ground.
- Life cycle of egg to adult is 4 weeks to 12+ months, depending on temperature, food source, humidity, and more.
- Just one female flea can lay 6000 eggs (40 to 50 per day) in her lifetime. Eggs can hatch in 2 days to 2 weeks.
- Eggs then hatch into larvae which nestle into carpet, bedding, under furniture, rugs, skirting boards, and other dark places. They also like sand/gravel.
- Larvae molt several times then spin a cocoon around themselves and become pupae which, because of their impervious shell, are the main reason fleas are so difficult to control.
- Eventually, when a live animal comes close to a mature pupa, they are triggered to hatch and exit the cocoon into their adult form, hungry for their first meal.