less-toxic flea removal

You've got cats or dogs, and now you've got fleas and ticks. 

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

Pest control is essential when you have children in the home, as adult fleas are not only a nuisance, but their bites can cause irritation, severe allergies, and even diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever people.

What can you do to beat the buggers? These less-toxic flea removal  tips will have your home (and your pet) itch-free in no time.

Flea Removal for Your Pet

  • Comb frequently. Groom your cat or dog with a metal flea comb. Focus your efforts on the neck and tail area. (Bugs like to hang out here because the pet can't scratch them off as easily.) Keep a bowl of hot soapy water nearby when you're grooming to drown the captured critters. (Ruthless enemies call for ruthless treatment).
  • Bathe dogs daily. Until the infestation is under control, bathe your dog each day using shampoo or dog soap (insecticide not required). It's the best way to get a flea infestation on a larger animal in check. Take the comb into the bath for an extra measure of flea catching and killing.
  • Launder pet bedding regularly. Launder washable pet bedding in hot water and bleach at least weekly. 
  • Think (and apply) topically. Topical flea-busting treatments, such as fluralaner and imidacloprid, can be applied to an animal's skin in small amounts while wearing gloves. From there, it spreads over the entire body of the pet and is effective for at least one month.

Home Flea Removal

After treating the pets, it's time treat the carpets, upholstery, and non-washable cat beds. Our vet recommended Vet-Kem Carpet Premise Spray.

We took home two 16-ounce spray cans from the vet's office and made use of them during a recent flea infestation. 

We had the flea problem under control within a week. Other less-toxic ways to treat carpets, pet bedding, and other non-washables: 

Sprinkle diatomaceous earth (DE) on carpets, upholstered furniture, and pet bedding. 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. Other less toxic choices include borate-based carpet treatments and flea traps.

One of the best - and least toxic - flea 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:

  • It pulls some of the fleas out of the carpet or upholstered furniture
  • Pre-adult fleas are pushed to leave their cocoons

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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