Treating a Flea Infestation can be work-intensive and time-consuming, but it’s something that anyone can do!
Here are the tips and resources that we recommend:
Ensure that your pet is on a monthly Flea Preventative. There are lots of different brands, each with their own benefits, so please discuss with your veterinarian which they would recommend for your specific pet and family situation.
Evaluate the environment. If there are fleas on your pet, even just one or two, there are fleas and flea eggs in the environment they live in. If they live outdoors, we recommend hiring a pest control service to come treat your yard. NOTE: Let them know that they are treating an area that is lived in by animals and/or children. If their product isn’t safe for your pets, use someone else! Check online reviews.
Treating the Environment
- Vacuuming - Vacuum every floor surface and surface that your pets get on 3 - 4 times weekly for 3 - 6 weeks. This includes laminate, tiles, hardwood, carpets, rugs, etc. Flea eggs and larvae can fall down into the tiny cracks in the floor and quite happily live in the environment for extended periods of time, so treat ALL floor surfaces. We also recommend vacuuming couches, beds, and chairs. Every time you vacuum, empty the canister/bag. Put the contents into an outdoor trash can. Otherwise the eggs, fleas, and larvae in the vacuum will jump right out back into your house! Tip: You can purchase a cheap flea collar and place it in the bag/canister of your vacuum cleaner. This will kill any fleas that it comes in contact with, and if you didn’t clean the bag/canister thoroughly enough, it will hopefully kill any critters before they leave the vacuum.
- Washing - Wash all bedding and pet beds your pets are able to get on 3 - 4 times weekly for 3 - 6 weeks. Use the normal detergent, but use hot water in the washing machine. This will help kill eggs and larvae.
If these methods are not enough to get the infestation under control, we recommend reaching out to a pest-control company.
Frequently Asked Questions & Concerns:
- My pets can’t have fleas - they don’t go outside!
Fleas can enter your home in a variety of ways, including through crawl-spaces, windows and screens, with other pests (such as mice), through the attic with squirrels, or on your pant legs when coming home. If your pet goes outdoors to the bathroom, or if your neighbors have pets, those are also ways that fleas may enter your indoor environment.
- I haven’t seen any fleas, or been bitten by fleas, so there aren’t any in my house.
Fleas will almost always feed off of dogs and cats before feeding off of humans - usually, when humans are being bitten in the home, it’s because the infestation is very bad. When this happens, we recommend skipping straight to the pest-control company.
- My pet is on a flea preventative every month - why didn’t that prevent fleas?
Because we live in a large metro area, with tons of pets and people living close-together, medications will become ineffective over time, due to overuse. And not all preventatives work in all situations. Some oral medications are more effective in some cases, while topicals work better in others. Always ensure that you are using the correct weight range, not splitting pills/topicals between pets, and that you are buying from a certified supplier of the preventative you are using.
- Why shouldn’t I just mist/bomb the house?
Flea bombs tend to be problematic for several reasons. They are often toxic to humans and animals, and require pets/people to be out of the house for extended periods of time. Mists are also not able to penetrate into fibers, so your couches, carpets, bedding, etc will still have fleas and eggs safely hidden in them until it’s safe to come out.
- Why do I need to do this for so long?
A single flea can produce up to 50 eggs per day, which do not sit in a little nest, but can fall anywhere in the household that your pet goes. A methodical and long term cleaning plan can catch any fleas and eggs that may have been missed on the first few cleanings, to ensure that you eradicate the problem completely.
- Fleas aren’t dangerous - why do I need to treat them?
A small number of flea bites is enough to affect our patients’ bloodwork, and accidentally swallowing fleas can spread various diseases to humans and pets, including tapeworms. In large enough numbers (which can happen quickly thanks to their great reproductive capacity), fleas can also consume enough blood to cause anemia in pets. This is seen commonly in the summer in Georgia, and can be fatal.
- It’s cold outside, so the fleas are all dead. While fleas and eggs can be killed at 37 Fahrenheit, they can survive indoors or around the edges of your home quite happily during the winter months!