How to Treat a Flea Infestation

Dealing with a flea infestation can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be an overly difficult one. We’re here to help control these pests, protecting your beloved pet from the nuisance, disease, and other health problems that fleas can cause. Eliminating an infestation completely can take two to three weeks, but it will be time and effort well spent.

Why Fleas Are a Problem

After jumping onto your pet, fleas hide within his coat. They then proceed to bite your dog or cat relentlessly. Your unsuspecting pet responds the only way he knows how—by scratching.

Health problems fleas can cause include:

  • anemia
  • cat scratch fever
  • flea allergy dermatitis
  • infections, like haemobartonellosis
  • plague
  • tapeworm

How to Identify a Flea Problem

Conduct regular flea checks on your pet regardless of the season, and keep in mind that fleas can live indoors year-round. Grooming time is an ideal opportunity to perform an inspection. If your pet’s fur is especially long or dense, use a flea comb. After running it through your pet’s coat, wipe the comb on a damp paper towel. Dark or reddish particles are a sign that fleas are present—the debris is “flea dirt,” the digested blood the fleas have already consumed.

Ridding Your Pet and His Environment of Fleas

It is essential to treat both your pet and his environment as soon as you identify a flea problem and to continue the treatment until they are eliminated. This approach will disrupt the life cycle of the flea and prevent future flea problems. Proper treatment involves three steps:

  • Treat your pet: This step kills the adult fleas that are currently attacking your beloved pet. Start by bathing him with flea & tick shampoo. In a multi-pet household, all animals should be treated, even if they haven’t shown signs of an infestation yet.
  • Treat your home: Fleas can live in a variety of environments for an extended period of time. Their favorite spot is on your pet, where they can feast on your pet’s blood, but they can survive on furniture and in carpeting for more than 100 days.

    Because it is impossible to identify each location that has become infested, utilize a flea & tick fogger to kill fleas hiding in open spaces of your home. Use flea & tick sprays directly on your rugs and furniture—the most common areas fleas hide when they aren’t feeding on your pet.

    Wash any clothing or bedding your pet has been near, and vacuum your home thoroughly. When you are finished, throw away the vacuum bag. Empty bag-less vacuum units into a bag and dispose of the contents.

  • Treat your yard: If your pet spends time in your yard, it is smart to treat this area as well. Of course, you cannot eliminate insects from the outdoors completely, but you can minimize the number of fleas your pet encounters by spraying his favorite spots.

Re-treat your pet and his environment according to the product labels, as new fleas may hatch after the initial treatment. Daily vacuuming can also help.

How to Prevent Future Infestations
Now that you have controlled the fleas that have accosted your pet and his environment, you can focus on preventing future flea problems.

A monthly topical will kill any fleas that make their way onto your pet; this easy-to-apply product is the best defense against a flea infestation. Be sure to select the right topical product based on your pet’s weight. Outdoors, use a yard-and-garden spray to help manage fleas.

Questions about treating your pet, home, or yard? Contact a product specialist at 800-950-4783. Our team of product experts can help you with your current flea problems as well as preventing new ones from occurring.