Trying to get rid of fleas can be frustrating and expensive so it’s always better to take precautions to prevent flea infestation.
Fleas cause irritation for your dog and can also cause discomfort to humans. Fleas are the reason for more than half of skin problems which eventually require vet assistance and even a single flea bite to a dog with very sensitive skin can cause extreme itching and irritation.
There are several flea repellent products on the market and choosing the right product for your dog can be confusing so it’s always best to speak to your vet.
To get rid of fleas in your home and pet, treatment is necessary. Adult fleas lay as much as much as 50 eggs per day on the pet. However, the eggs can fall off the animal into carpeting, beneath the cushions of furniture, and wherever else the pet rests, sleeps or spends most of its time.
After hatching, flea eggs develop into tiny, worm-like larvae. The larvae feed mainly on adult flea faeces (dried blood) which accumulates, along with the eggs, in pet resting and activity areas. Before becoming adult fleas, the larvae transforms into pupae within a silk-like cocoon. Pupae remain inside the cocoon for 2 to 4 weeks, sometimes longer. The cocoon is resistant to insecticides and this is why some adult fleas are seen for an extended period, even after the home and pet are treated.
If you neglect to treat the pet's environment, you will miss more than 90% of the developing flea population ie the eggs, larvae and pupae. If the pet spends time indoors, the interior of the home should also be treated. Before treatment, the pet owner should:
After vacuuming, seal the vacuum bag in a garbage bag and discard it in an outdoor trash container.
Once fleas become established in a home, insecticides are almost always needed to control them. Always read and follow label directions on the insecticide container. Other than the person performing the application, people and pets should be out of the house during treatment. People and pets should also remain off treated surfaces until the spray has dried. This may take several hours, depending on carpet type, ventilation and method of application. Opening windows and running the fan or air conditioner after treatment will enhance drying and minimise odour.
It is important that the pet is treated as well as the premises, preferably on the same day. Adult fleas spend virtually their entire life on the animal - not in the carpet. Untreated pets will continue to be bothered by fleas. They may also transport fleas in from outdoors, eventually overcoming the effectiveness of the insecticide applied inside the home.
To re-cap, "de-fleaing" the pet is an essential step to get rid of fleas in the home. However, pet owners must also treat the pet's environment, the home. Having your pet treated will not, in itself, eliminate fleas in an infested home.
In cases where pets spend most of their time outdoors, it may also be necessary to treat the yard. One way to determine if the yard is infested is to walk around the property wearing white athletic socks, pulled to the knee. If fleas are present, they will be seen against the white background of the socks.
Outdoor flea treatment should focus on areas where pets rest, sleep, and run, such as dog house and kennel areas, under decks, along fences and next to the foundation. It is seldom necessary to treat the entire yard or open areas exposed to full sun. Insecticide formulations are somewhat effective for outdoor flea treatment. These can be applied with a hose-end or pump-up sprayer. Fleas can be successfully eliminated by carefully following the steps outlined above. Homeowners who lack the time to control fleas themselves or who are uncomfortable applying pesticides may wish to use the services of a professional pest control firm.
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