Did you know that fleas are the most common external parasite in pets? Oftentimes, just when you think you have them controlled, they come back again with a vengeance. Part of the reason for this is because you need to take care of more than just your pet.
Many people use topical flea protection on their pet without realizing their home and lawn are also infested with fleas. In order to rid your pet of fleas, and keep them from coming back, you also need to treat your home and outdoor environments. As a basic rule of thumb, you will need to eradicate all forms of fleas (both immature and adult) on your dog, your home, and all outdoor areas your dog has access to. This usually takes several months.
STEP 1: ON YOUR PET
Choose from several options for long term control:
Once-a-month Topicals: A once-a-month topical such as K9 Advantix® II or
Bio Spot® ACTIVE CARE SPOT ON® for Dogs should be applied to a small area on the upper part of your pet's back according to the manufacturer's directions.
View our "How to Apply a Flea & Tick Topical to Your Dog" Video
Sprays: When using a spray, you do not have to soak the pet with the spray, but be sure to spray all parts of the animal, using a cotton ball to apply around eyes and ears.
Collars: To fit a collar you should be able to get two fingers between the collar and your pet's neck. Be sure to cut off any extra so your pet cannot chew it.
Remember all pets in the household must be treated.
STEP 2: IN YOUR HOME
You must remove all stages of the fleas, killing any remaining adults, and preventing immature forms from developing. This can include:
Vacuuming below drapes, under furniture edges, and where your pet sleeps. It is then recommended that you seal your vacuum bag in a plastic bag and discard it immediately.
In more severe infestations, foggers are especially good for large open areas. Surface sprays can reach areas such as baseboards, moldings, cracks, and under furniture where foggers can't reach. Be sure to wash your pet's bedding weekly and treat the bed and surrounding area with a product that contains both an adulticide and an insect growth regulator.
Do not forget to clean and treat your pet bed, automobile, pet carrier, garage, basement, or any other place your pet spends much time.
STEP 3: OUTSIDE ENVIRONMENT
If the yard and/or outside kennel areas could be a source of fleas, they may also need to be treated. Fleas prefer places that are moist, warm, shady, and where there is debris like leaves, straw, or grass clippings. They also like to be where your pet is, since your pet is their host. So be sure to tackle areas such as patios, porches, dog houses, etc.
Rake away any organic debris such as leaves, straw, grass clippings, etc, to disturb flea habitat and allow any flea and tick product you use outdoors to penetrate.
In a few circumstances, you may need to treat the yard every 7 to 21 days, depending on the product. Regardless of the product used, remember not to spray when or where runoff could go into lakes or rivers. Read the label on all insecticides thoroughly and apply them as directed.
PREVENTION PREVENTION PREVENTION
The best flea control is always flea prevention, and repellents are the key.
- PYRETHRINS AND PERMETHRINS have flea repellent activity. (NOTE: Permethrins should NOT be used on cats.) Using products containing these insecticides will help keep fleas away and prevent a flea problem from developing.
- REGULAR USE of insect growth regulators/development inhibitors will reduce the risk of fleas becoming established in the indoor and outdoor environment.
- BEFORE THEY ARE ALLOWED in their house or kennel areas, pets should be given a flea bath or spray after they have been boarded, played with pets from other households, or visited places where other animals have been (e.g. dog parks).