How can you control fleas around your home?
The most important thing to realize is that even if your pets are indoor only it will take you about three months to eradicate an infestation assuming no new fleas are introduced into your home. (This doesn’t mean that you have to deal with living fleas for the next three months, it just means there may be fleas hatching out for that long) The adult fleas live on your pet and they drop their eggs off into the environment. These eggs are small enough to get deep into your carpet, into cracks in wood floors, and in bedding or couches that your pet spends time on frequently. Vacuuming these areas helps decrease the number of fleas that will have the opportunity to hatch out. You can also use products such as Knockout to help destroy more of the young fleas. However, certain stages of the flea life cycle are very resistant to any environmental treatments.
There are also products that can help treat your yard to decrease the burden of fleas. Chances are that if you only treat your yard or home you will still have problems with fleas because there will still be a potential for the occasional flea to be in the area if it was recently dropped from wildlife or a stray cat.
The reason it typically takes 3 months to remove an infestation is because the fleas hatch out on a variable time frame. If you only treat your pet for one month, the new fleas may hatch out after the medicine is no longer in their system and the infestation can start over. If you keep your pets on good quality flea medicine for at least three consecutive months the infestation should be under control and as long as no new fleas are introduced there should not be a continuing problem. As we mentioned in our post “flea prevention part 1” your environment will dictate how likely it is that your pets will become reinfested and also how quickly.
Some over the counter flea medications have seemed to lose efficacy recently. We have had many complaints of them either not killing fleas at all, only killing some fleas, or wearing off before the pet is due for the next dose. The safest and most effective source for flea medication will always be at your local veterinary office. If the products are direct from manufacturer to veterinarian to client most of the companies will stand behind their product if there are ever adverse reactions or a product that does not work the way it is supposed to.
At our office we typically use Bravecto (kills fleas for 3 months with a single dose, oral for dogs, topical for cats), Nexgard (kills fleas in dogs for 1 month with a single oral dose), Cheristan (kills fleas in cats for 1 month with single topical dose), or Trifexis (heartworm & flea combination medicine for dogs that lasts for 1 month).
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns (504) 456-0240.