The Key to Controlling Fleas

Nearly all dogs will suffer a flea infestation at some point in their lives, and many dogs with atopic dermatitis are also allergic to fleas. Whether they’re the cause of the problem or contributing to it, fleas need to be dealt with first. 

One adult flea lays 50 eggs a day which drop off into your home or yard, into the carpet and cracks of floors. Nothing- no shampoo, powder, nor bomb- can get down deep where the flea eggs larvae and cocoons hide.

The eggs hatch, releasing larvae, which eat the flea dirt. If you see flea dirt-it’s like footprints-you have fleas. Then the larvae turns into a cocoon (there are no products able to kill fleas inside the cocoon). Once that cocoon hatches, it can be killed. The whole cycle can repeat itself. Cocoons may hatch in as little as two weeks, but may remain in hibernation an average of five to eight months. 

August and September are the worse months for flea problems and are the most likely months of the year that fleas will be seen. Did you know that if a flea was the size of 2-year old child, it could jump over the Empire State Building? 

Tips to know:

1) Use products sold from a veterinary clinic. Less expensive products sold at the store are not very effective and may cause toxicity or chemical burns! Treat every pet in the household (Ask for different medications for exotic pets) IF you treat one pet, but not another, the fleas which are unseen in the home will go to the other pets. The treatment used on the first pet will not do anything for the rest. Each pet now gets a job of “exterminator.” They’ll go where the fleas are in the environment, and the medication will be the “chemical” used by your pets to kill the fleas.

2) There is no need to bathe your pet with flea shampoo or use collars. Sprays/bombs can be used to knock back problems in the environment, but they are at most, 40% effective. Flea baths take the fleas off of the pet, but most of the fleas are actually in the home. As soon as the pet enters the home again, the fleas are back, and the bath will not kill these new fleas. Collars are a repellent for the neck. It’s like spraying your neck with mosquito repellent while camping. You’ll still get bitten on your arms and legs. In the same manner, the fleas will still get on the pet elsewhere and ride to the home environment.

3) Vacuum your home. The vibrations of the vacuum cleaners help some of the cocoons to hatch early, sucking the adults up into the vacuum. Each time you vacuum, you need to empty your bag or bag-less vacuum outside so that the fleas don’t replicate inside the vacuum and get put back into your home the next time you use the vacuum.