3 less-toxic flea removal methods

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. 

  1.  Choosing the Most Effective Flea Removal Treatment for Your Cat or Dog

You'll have a couple of options when it comes to flea removal treatments for your cat or dog:

  • Products containing fipronil, permethrin, or amitraz are designed to control fleas and ticks.
  • Products that contain insect growth regulators (IGRs) methoprene and pyriproxyfen are designed to provide long term control of pests and their eggs.

Check with your veterinarian for advice on the best product to give your pet.

If you use an oral or topical product such as Martins permethrin 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:

  • Grooming your pet with a metal flea comb. Focus your efforts on the neck and tail area. Dip the comb in a bowl of hot soapy water occasionally to drown the captured critters.
  • Bathing dogs daily until the infestation is under control. (If you are using one of the topical applications, however, wait three days before bathing the dog.)
  • Laundering washable pet bedding in hot water and bleach weekly.

  2.  Flea Removal Treatment for Carpets and Other Non-Washable Surfaces

Vacuum floors, rugs, carpets, upholstered furniture, and crevices around baseboards and cabinets daily or every other day when fleas have made an appearance in your home. 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:

  • Don a dust mask and goggles and sprinkle diatomaceous earth (DE) on carpets, upholstered furniture and pet bedding. While diatomaceous earth is safe for pets and people, it is lethal for fleas. It kills them by absorbing the waxy coating on their bodies, causing dehydration and death.
  • Borate based carpet treatments and flea traps are other choices that are less toxic than traditional flea remedies.

  3.  How to Prevent Fleas in the Future

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.

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