Getting A Handle On Fleas | Pet Blog - VCA Kennel Club Resort & Spa

Getting A Handle On Fleas

It’s still summer time and that means it is also flea season. Fleas, the most common parasite for dogs and cats, can be incredibly difficult to control. What can you do to get a handle on these 2-millimeter blood-sucking monsters? The best and most effective way is a multi-point attack.
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Fleas are Everywhere
Fleas prefer warm and humid weather, making summer months the time of year they are out in force. When the humidity decreases, like it usually does in September, the flea population decreases as well.

Your pet can pick up fleas pretty much anywhere. If you walk your dog in your neighborhood, your furry friend might end up picking up a hitch-hiker along the way. Since fleas have an amazing range of jumping (7 inches vertically and 13 inches horizontally), they can even jump right through your door way and into the house. A house that is locked up for any length of time can make the temperature perfect for fleas to breed, creating a population explosion.
Many people report of coming home to a crazy flea population explosion when they have been gone on summer vacation, often never noticing fleas before.

The life cycle of fleas has four stages, with adults being the last stage. A startling statistic of a flea population is that adults only make up about 5%. Indeed, this makes it imperative to get a handle on the problem early. To this end, a multi-point treatment is usually the best way to curtail a problem.

Attack Everywhere
Since fleas can be everywhere, it is important to attack them everywhere. Use a spray on your yard. The quickest and easiest do-it-yourself way is an insecticide in a sprayer that is attached to the hose. You can cover your entire yard (front and back) in a very short time. Once dry, it is safe for pets. Pest control companies also offer spraying services to aid in flea control if you do not want to do the work.

In your house, many people find using a boric acid based product, such as Fleabusters, is a great way to get control over fleas. Fleabusters and the like acts as a desiccant, drying out the pesky fleas.

Your pet’s bedding should also be treated if you want to control fleas. Flea eggs can drop off your pet and fall into the bedding. The best way to rid your pet’s bedding of fleas is to wash it. If you have bedding that is unsafe to wash, spray it with a pet-grade flea spray available at pet supply stores.

The last front you need to focus on for flea control is your pet. The most thorough way to eradicate fleas on your pet is a bath with a flea-killing shampoo followed by topical or oral flea control. This method gets rid of the live fleas on your pet and gives a clean slate for the topical or oral control to work. It is this method that we use at our resort when a pet checks in with unwanted pests. Flea shampoos are available at your favorite pet supply store.

A good practice is to re-spray your yard and re-wash bedding two weeks after the initial treatment. While many sprays say they can kill flea eggs, many people find a re-treatment very effective.

Nothing Is 100%
It is important to note that there is no sure-fire, 100% way to eradicate fleas. A multi-point attack as outlined here is often the most effective way. Be cautious in relying on topical or oral flea control as the only means for controlling these nasty parasites. It can take up to three months for topicals or orals to be effective. Unfortunately, topical and oral flea control products do not offer an impenetrable barrier on your pet–fleas can still jump on your pet and might even bite or lay eggs. Remember, too, that the war against fleas doe not end after your multi-front attack. Be sure to continue your pet’s oral or topical flea control per your product’s recommended period.

Don’t Feel Bad
Fleas are a nuisance to pets and their people. If you end up with an outbreak, don’t feel bad or embarrassed. Everyone has a problem with fleas at some time. It does not make you a bad pet parent. If you see fleas on your pet or in your environment, take quick action before it worsens. You will be happy you did something to help your friend and your pet will be happy not to have vampire-like pests.