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less-toxic flea removal methods

You've got cats or dogs - and now you've got a flea problem. 

You've got kids, too. How do you go about flea removal pest control without harming the kids?

Pest control is essential when you have children in the home, as adult fleas are not only a nuisance, but flea bites can cause irritation and even severe allergies in some people. What can you do to safely - and effectively - get rid of fleas?

These less toxic pest control methods for flea removal will have your home (and your pet) itch-free in no time. 

Flea Removal for Your Pet

Comb constantly: Groom your cat or dog with a metal flea comb. Focus your efforts on the neck and tail area. Keep a bowl of hot soapy water nearby to drown the captured critters (ruthless enemies call for ruthless treatment).

Until a flea problem is under control, bathe dogs daily using shampoo or dog soap (insecticide not required) to get rid of adult fleas. It's the best pest control method for getting rid of fleas on larger animals.

Take the comb into the bath for an extra measure of flea catching-and-killing. Launder washable pet bedding in hot water and bleach at least weekly. 

During a recent flea infestation on our two indoor cats, we turned again to fipronil, a topical flea-busting treatment that is applied to the skin between an animal's shoulder blades.

It had worked wonders in the past.

Two months later, our pest control efforts in vain, we consulted our veterinarian. He said fipronil is no longer useful.

His new treatment of choice is Bravecto (fluralaner) topical solution, which is effective for 12 weeks.

However, our work wasn't done, the vet said. In addition to the topical Bravecto treatment (which is available for dogs in a single, long-lasting chew), we'd need to continue our pest control efforts at home.  

Adult female fleas can lay 25-40 eggs a day, and these eggs quickly drop off into places our cats hang around. (Think carpets, furniture, kennels, cat boxes, and cat beds.)

And those eggs hatch into larvae in a few days and become full-fledged, biting adult fleas a couple of weeks later. 

So now that we'd treated the cats, it was time treat the carpets, upholstery, and non-washable cat beds. He recommended Vet-Kem Carpet Premise Spray.

We took home two 16-ounce spray cans, and made use of them. We'd need to do a follow-up surface treatment in two weeks, he said.

Home Pest Control 

    One of the best pest control methods is to vacuum - a lot. Especially in the hot, humid places fleas and their larvae like to hang out.

    Flea larvae hide in carpets, so vacuuming does a few good things: 

flea removal tipsFrequent vacuuming of carpet and upholstery is key controlling fleas at home.
  • It pulls some of the fleas out of the carpet or upholstered furniture
  • Pre-adult fleas are pushed to leave their cocoons
  • The carpet opens up for treatment with insecticides, which will be effective once the larvae hatch into adult fleas. 

We began our voracious vacuuming immediately.

Then we applied one of the less-toxic pest control products available for non-washables -  Diatomaceous earth (DE).

DE has little toxicity to humans and animals but gets rid of fleas handily by absorbing the waxy coating on their bodies, causing dehydration and death.

To use, don a dust mask and sprinkle DE on carpets, upholstered furniture, and pet bedding. Other less toxic choices include borate-based carpet treatments and flea traps.

Preventing Future Fleas

To prevent future flea infestations:

  • Keep your pet indoors.
  • Restrict your pet to a regular sleeping space so you can better focus your flea control efforts.
  • Choose and use washable pet bedding.

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› Less Toxic Flea Removal