If you have noticed your pet scratching a lot, they may have fleas. If they do, you need to understand that just killing the fleas on your pet will not solve the problem. You need to kill the fleas that live in your carpets and furniture as well. Treating your pet alone will not keep them from re-infesting the animal over and over and causing further problems. Here are a few ways you can deal with fleas to get them off your pet and out of your house.
One common misconception many people have is that fleas can only live on a live host. This is partly true, they need a live host to feed but they can live in carpets, bedding and furniture for weeks as long as they can feed periodically. Adult fleas lays eggs that travel on pets but do not stick to them, meaning that they fall off in other areas of the house where they wait to hatch. That is why killing the fleas on your dog or cat is not enough. Those eggs will hatch, get back on your pet and the whole thing starts all over again.
What are fleas?
Fleas are wingless parasites that attach themselves to live hosts and suck blood. They bite, which is why your pet scratches so incessantly. They itch and sting and there is no way for the animal to get them off. Fleas burrow into the animals fur and live right on the skin of the animal where they can feed all day long. Fleas do not fly, but can jump from one host to another. This includes people so if your pet sleeps on your pet you may be getting bit as well.
When dealing with fleas, you’ll need to treat the animal, its bedding, toys and the carpets, furniture and floors of your whole house. Fleas are a nuisance but can be very uncomfortable to pets and even carry diseases which can make them sick, which is why it is important to nip a flea infestation in the bud as soon as you see it. We’ll discuss some traditional methods of flea control as well as some natural remedies you can use if you have small children in the house.
Ways to Deal with Fleas on Your Pet
There are a number of preparation you can use on your pet to kill the adult fleas. The first thing you should do is inspect your pet for the tell-tale signs of flea infestation. The fleas can be seen in the pets fur as well as the waste of the creature, which looks similar to little specks of black pepper.
Flea Bath for Dogs
Your local grocery stores carry all kinds of flea-killing products for your pet. A good flea shampoo doesn’t have to be expensive. Just get something made with oatmeal or something soothing because you’ll need to bathe the animal frequently and it may cause skin irritation because it removes the natural oils from the animals coat. Bathing once per week is recommended to get rid of new adult fleas that have hatched, killing them before they can lay eggs.
Flea Collars will deter some fleas because they contain a substance that repells them and smells unpleasant. Fleas and other insects like spiders and ants do not like strong smelling odors. They are very sensitive to odors and tend to avoid areas with scents they don’t like. This is why some citrus sprays are effective at keeping them away.
Treating you Home and Yard for Fleas
If you see more than a few fleas, you may have an outdoor flea problem as well. Most often pets that go outdoors to potty and play pick up fleas from outside. That is why animals that live indoors and don’t have contact with other animals can get fleas. They infest outdoor areas where they can jump on passing animals and get inside your house.
Foggers are one way to spray for fleas and eggs in carpets and on upholstery. They are similar to bug and spider bombs because you set them off and then have to be out of the home for several hours. Then afterwards, everything in your house will need to be washed down and laundered if possible.
Sprays for patios and under the house can also get rid of outdoor fleas before they get a chance to come inside. There are products such as Advantage 2 Yard and Premise Spray, Sentry Yard and Premise Spray for fleas and ticks, and Natural Chemistry Yard and Kennel Spray just to name a few. You’ll need to spray around your yard and near the borders of your home as well as underneath porches and patios.
Natural Remedies for Flea Control
Natural methods for flea control may be preferred by parents of small children, or in case your budget is tight at the moment and there is no money for commercial products. Most ingredients are things you probably already have in your home and can use right away.
Natural Flea Bath
This one is super easy because you can use any kind of gentle shampoo and a little bit of dish soap. Dawn blue is the best one to use, but others will work also. Just get the fur wet and soap the animal with the shampoo like for a regular bath. Mix a capful of dish soap with a cup of water and massage it in with the shampoo. Let it sit on the pets fur for a minimum of five minutes and rinse. Repeat this once a week.
Homemade Flea Collar
A bandana makes a perfect homemade flea collar for your pet. It can also be used on cats if it is small and tightly folded. You will need a few drops of essentials oils to dab on the folded bandana. Peppermint, tea tree oil, clove oil and citrus oils are great for this. Don’t make it too tight, but just enough that it won’t come off with scratching.
Treating Your House
Mix equal parts of lemon juice and water, or vinegar and water, or boil some water with slices of lemon, orange or lime as well as rosemary or cinnamon. Let cool and add to a spray bottle and mist your dogs bed, the furniture and underneath furniture as well as carpeted areas. You can also use it as a flea spray on your pet in between baths.
Vacuum Carpets Weekly
Sprinkle a little salt thoroughly over carpets and let sit for 30 minutes and vacuum rugs and carpeting. Repeat weekly until fleas are all gone. Remember to dispose of the vacuum bag immediately to keep them from getting out the next time you use the vacuum.
These tips will help you deal with the fleas on your pet as well as keep fleas out of your home. If you have tried everything and still have a serious flea infestation, it may be time to call an exterminator. Flea problems that go on too long can make your pet very ill. If you have to, call in the professionals.