How to Prevent Fleas

posted: by: Kelley, LVT Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

One of the most common problems clients have is keeping their pets and homes flea free. To begin to combat these pesky parasites, we must fist understand their lifecycle.

One adult flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day! Think of your pet like a salt shaker; every time your pet shakes, these eggs can be propelled into the environment (inside or out). In 2-5 days, flea eggs will hatch into a larval stage. This stage will then grow into a pupa, which wraps itself in a cocoon (like a butterfly) until environmental conditions are appropriate to hatch out as an adult. Here is where the flea control can become tricky...

Flea control products on the market today are comprimised primarily of preventative medications applied topically or orally. Topical treatments include Frontlike Plus, Advantage Multi, K-9 Advantix, etc.; with each dose providing 30 days of flea control. Oral medications such as Comfortis also provide 30 days flea control and may be better suited for pets with dry skin or skin conditions (as the topicals rely on the oil in the skin to spread out evenly). These products are designed to kill the adult fleas on your pet, and some also control the flea eggs. They do not 100% repell fleas or have any effect on fleas in the environment.

Flea larvae love to hang out in cool, dark areas like shaded grasses, under porches, under furniture in the carpet, etc. Once in the cocoon state, flea pupa can lay in hibernation essentially for upto 350 days! Unfortunately, this stage is rarely effected by any flea control products.

If you are seeing fleas either on your pet or in the environment, remember that one flea only represents about 5% of the total flea population in the environment! Follow these steps to effectively rid your home of fleas-

1. Treat EVERYpet in your household (whether inside or out) EVERY30 days with a flea preventative for at least 3 consecutive months. (One dose will only kill the adult fleas present at that time, but treating continually will kill the immature fleas as they hatch out).

2. Treat your whole environment routinely with safe products such as Virbac Knock Out Spray for carpets, furniture, interiors, and Virbac Yard Spray for lawns, patios, and gardens.

3. Vaccuum carpets at least 2-3 times weekly and be sure to empty the vaccuum container. Also wash your pets bedding routinely.

4. You can bathe your pet to wash off any remaining flea dirt (a regular bath is equally as effective as using a flea shampoo and less irritating to the skin).

5. Be consistent! Use year-round prevention to control the flea population (with year round prevention- as the pupa hatch out, they will have no chance at re infesting your pet with preventatives already on board and waiting to kill the fleas!).