That’s the biggest pain about fleas, isn’t it. They just never seem to go away. As soon as you think you’ve got the problem licked, your dog turns up scratching again and you’re back to square one. Chances are, your dog is picking up those fleas in two places – outside in your yard, and inside your own house. So… what to do about that?
The most important ingredient in getting rid of fleas (on your pet and in your carpets) is patience. Surprisingly, the easiest way to get rid of fleas in your house is to keep Fluffy on a regular flea prevention medication! The trick is to be consistent, and remember to give those doses every month. Even waiting 5 weeks instead of 4 can give fleas the chance to start their breeding program all over again.
Follow these four tips to get (and keep!) your house a flea-free zone this year:
- Keep all your pets on monthly flea prevention medications, even those indoor cats. The dog can bring in a flea or two (remember, the fleas have to get on your pet for the medication to start working), or you can bring in fleas on your clothes. Once inside, these fleas will find any animal who is not protected and set up residence.
- Remember to give the monthly dose of the flea prevention medications. You may not see resolution of your flea problem until you have given the flea prevention medications for 3 straight months. Inside your home, the normal flea life cycle takes anywhere from 3-6 weeks. Continuing the medications for 90 days means you’ll get even those fleas that take their time reaching maturity.
- Vacuum all your floors thoroughly – and don’t forget the hardwood floors. (The flea larvae will burrow down to the bottom of the carpet, or into the cracks between the hardwood planks.) Then take the vacuum bags outside to the trash immediately. Flea eggs can hatch inside the vacuum bag and make their way through the house from there. Until you get the flea problem taken care of, repeat this thorough vacuuming at least once a month.
- Wash all your bedding, and your pet’s bedding, in hot water. Since the fleas go where Fluffy goes, the places where she spends the most time have plenty of flea eggs to go around. Washing all the blankets, dog beds, towels, and plush toys in hot water will help to stop your flea problem sooner rather than later. While you’re still having flea troubles, these items should be washed at least once a month.
Unless your flea problem is exceptionally bad, these four steps (and a little patience) will take care of Fluffy’s not-so-friendly friends. If you’re having persistent troubles with fleas, double-check your calendar to be sure you have been giving the flea prevention medications on the same day every month. (Remember, just a few days late can make a big difference!) We also have some room sprays that can be helpful in tough flea situations.
We do not typically recommend treating your yard or any areas outside your home. These treatments can be very costly, and as soon as the neighborhood stray dog trots through your yard chasing that squirrel (dropping flea eggs everywhere they both go), the fleas are back. Keeping all your pets on a regular monthly flea prevention is really the best way to keep your furry family members (and your home) flea-free, even in the toughest flea seasons!
We offer a variety of flea prevention medications. Most are a topical ointment that is applied to the back of your pet’s neck once a month, but we also have a pill variety if you would rather not deal with the ointments.
Do you have questions about which flea prevention would be best for your pet? Call us or come in to talk. Every pet (and every family) is different, and some flea prevention medications work better on some pets than others. We can talk about what you have tried in the past, and what might work for you and Fluffy in the future.
Check out our Fleas Resource Page for even more information about fleas!