As we all know, fleas have been one of the scourges of the human population. They can bring disease, sickness, and the famous “Black Plague” in the middle ages was caused by a flea-borne bacteria.
Of course, modern medicine has taken care of the deadliest diseases that fleas carry, and for most of us, a flea bite is akin to a mosquito bite. You’ll get a red welt, it will itch, and you’ll have to deal with it for a few days until it goes away.
But your dog and cat friends will suffer more. Fleas might bite you, but they will breed on dogs and cats. That’s where the main problem lies. Once a breeding population is established, it will be hard to get rid of them under any circumstance. There are two steps here: eradication and prevention. So here is what to know and what to do.
How Do They get In?
Dogs and cats are not born with fleas. They have to get them from somewhere, and that’s always going to be an issue. Obviously, direct interaction with another animal pet that has fleas is very common. But even if there is no interaction at all, your pet can still get fleas.
Every time your pet goes outside, there is a chance to pick up fleas. These pests are common in the wild, virtually every animal has them, and it’s just a natural part of living outdoors. Needless to say, fleas jump off of hosts, or they fall off, or their larvae fall onto the ground, and when your pet passes over that spot, the flea will jump aboard its new home.
Granted, there are specific cat and dog fleas, but they are not very particular onto which animal they can feed on. And all fleas feed on blood.
That means, every time your dog or cat goes out of doors, the potential is there to bring in fleas. You may be able to eradicate fleas from your home, but you’ll always have to practice prevention in order to keep them gone. Here’s what to do.
Concentrate on the Source
Now remember, the source of fleas coming into your home is your favorite pet. That’s the first place you want to concentrate on when you have a flea problem. No matter what you do to your house or home, if you don’t control where they are coming from, you’ll never get rid of the fleas.
The initial thing to do is to give your pet a flea bath. Yes, even cats will have to endure this if the fleas are really bad. However, there are flea baths that you can spray on, let sit and then wipe off, so even cats won’t mind.
If you don’t want to go down the chemical route on a flea bath, go with white vinegar. You can dab or spray it on, it won’t harm your pet, but it will kill fleas. You may have to rinse it off, especially if you have a cat, but for an all natural flea killing bath, vinegar is the ticket.
After this, you can choose to put on a flea collar for continued protection. A better way to do it is to use a spot-on treatment. These types are little drops of flea killer that you place between the shoulder blades of your dog or cat. They will naturally spread around the pets body and kill off any leftover fleas, if any are left after a bath, and they’ll keep killing for weeks.
Of course, many people are against putting any kind of chemical next their pets skin, and you can skip this step, but prevention will then be that much more important in the future.
Eradicate Living Space
Once you get done ridding your pets of fleas, you can now concentrate on your living space. After all, you can get rid of all the fleas on your pets, but if you send them back to places where fleas are present, they will just become reinfested.
The Vacuum is your Friend
Here, the first step is to vacuum. Pay particular attention to rugs, carpeting and furniture. These are flea hideouts, and they will wait there to jump on any warm passing body. By vacuuming, you’ll not only be sucking up fleas, but you’ll also be sucking up their feces and their larvae too.
After vacuuming, spray a natural bug killer into the hose while the vacuum is still on. Any insecticide made of pyrethrins, which is made from the chrysanthemum flower, is a natural bug killer that will kill the fleas you have sucked up. This is important because if you don’t do this, they might come back up the hose, or jump on you when you change out the bag.
So vacuum first, and when you are done, spray a little bug killer down the hose when the vacuum is still running.
Into the Wash
After vacuuming, remove anything that you can, like blankets, pillow covers, whatever, and throw them in the wash. Use hot water and a lot of detergent, and don’t forget to dry them on hot, just in case any of the fleas slipped through.
Last but not Least
We briefly touched on bug spray, but for total eradication, you’ll need to spray particular spots. Again, use an all natural pyrethrin spray as opposed to a chemical spray.
Spray down furniture, where your dog lays, the dog bed, and anywhere else where your dog rests or resides. These are the places that will be the most infested, and these are the places to target.
If you want to go completely natural, you can use diatomaceous earth powder. This is basically the outer shells of diatoms, or shelled algae, that has been fossilized and mined. Spread that on places where your dog or cat have been, and the the minute shell fragments will chop up the fleas when they move around on it. Leave it on for a couple of days and vacuum it up. No harm will come to you or your pet, and since this is completely natural, you’ll never have to worry about chemicals either.
Once you have rid your living space of fleas, you’ll have to move into the prevention mode. If your pets are regular outdoor animals, flea baths or sprays might have to be a part of a regular routine.
You can spray cushions or rugs on your cleaning days, then vacuum everything up. The same goes for diatomaceous earth powder. Spread it around on the day before cleaning, let it sit overnight, and vacuum it up the next day.
A flea collar or flea drops are always good choices for prevention, and you can even set down flea traps in corners of rooms. Granted, you may not eradicate them this way, but if some are caught, you’ll know there is still an issue, and then you’ll be able to do take the proper steps and do something about it.
Remember, eradication and prevention. If you practice these two means, the end will be no more fleas.