Dogs, cats, and fleas all seem to go together. An adult flea lays hundreds of eggs a day so once a home is infested, flea removal is difficult.
The dog days of summer are usually when the problem peaks. Fortunately pet owners today have powerful new weapons in the war on fleas.
Both pills and topical applications are available that effectively break the flea's reproductive cycle. Any flea that bites into a medicated dog or cat lays eggs that won't hatch.
These medications are administered monthly and are safe for both pets and people when used correctly. For safety's sake, if you use the topical application, wear gloves and apply it after the kids go to bed to ensure that it is completely absorbed (usually in about eight hours) before they handle the animal.
For maximum effectiveness, however, these products need to be started in the spring - before the fleas start multiplying.
You'll have a couple of options when it comes to flea removal treatments for your cat or dog:
Check with your veterinarian for advice on the best product to give your pet.
If you use an oral or topical product early in the year, before flea populations begin to grow, the product can prevent an infestation in your home and on your pet.
Other less-toxic but effective flea removal tips for pets include:
Vacuum floors, rugs, carpets, upholstered furniture, and crevices around baseboards and cabinets daily or every other day. Treat carpets and other non-washables with less-toxic products.
Wearing a dust mask and goggles, use a hand sprayer to apply diatomaceous earth (DE) on carpets, upholstered furniture, and pet bedding. (You can blow DE into cracks and crevices, too.)
DE has little toxicity to humans and animals, but kills pests by absorbing the waxy coating on their bodies, causing dehydration and death. Other good less-toxic choices include borate-based carpet treatments and traps. Here's a bit about each:
To prevent future flea infestations, keep your pet indoors, restrict your pet to a regular sleeping space so you can better focus your efforts, and use washable pet bedding.