Get Rid of Fleas for Good!
Unless you are one of the lucky few, chances are your dog or cat has suffered from fleas. And with fleas seemingly running rampant in the summer months, now is the time to really buckle down on your pet's flea treatment. Not only are flea bites bothersome and itchy for your pet, but they can actually carry disease or cause skin infections due to overzealous scratching. Of course treating fleas is easier said than done, often proving to be a frustrating, uphill battle. However with a little dedication and a few helpful tips, you can get rid of that pesky, unwanted visitor for good.
- DO treat your pet with a vet-recommended flea medication: Frontline Plus, Advantage, and Advantix are a few great examples of effective topical flea prevention, and are widely considered safe for your pet. However, if your pet is sensitive to topical treatment, you can always try a few alternatives. Oral treatments are becoming more and more popular and are very effective—some even offer a heartworm/flea combo prevention for added convenience. Or, you could opt for natural remedies like herbal shampoos and sprays, but be warned these may not be as successful as a topical or oral alternative.
- DON'T treat your pet with grocery brand medication: While grocery brand topical flea treatments might be cheaper, the risk of side effects is much higher. In fact, vets attribute most topical reactions to the imitation brands found over the counter.
- DO treat all the pets in your household: If you live in a multi-pet household, it's important that all pets are on flea prevention. Even if just one pet is suffering, fleas are an epidemic that could quickly take over your household. And remember, it's much easier to prevent fleas than it is to make them go away.
- DO treat your home: Many pet owners think that treating your pet for fleas will solve the problem, but that is just one step of eliminating. Most of the flea eggs that are laid on your pet will roll off onto bedding, carpeting, etc. Make sure you thoroughly wash all of your pet's bedding, your bedding, toys, and any other material that may have come into contact. Vacuum the carpet daily for 30 days (the life cycle of a flea), and if necessary, consider using a flea "bomb" or "fogger." Follow the instructions carefully and evacuate your home for the necessary amount of time.
- DO treat your yard: Just like your home, your yard needs to be treated for fleas. You can find pet-friendly lawn treatments at your local housewares store—just make absolutely sure you buy one that is safe and non-toxic for pets. Also mow your lawn regularly, and keep leaves and other debris at a minimum. Another option is beneficial nematodes, which are microscopic organisms that kill fleas in the soil.
- DO practice year round prevention: While fleas are at their peak in the summer, your pet can get fleas at any time. Practice flea prevention all year long, and practice caution when exposing them to high-risk places like the dog park.