Whether it’s one bouncy little flea or dozens of them, a flea infestation can make your home uncomfortable and your pet miserable. A look at the flea, what it eats and how it lives can give you some insight into the problem and an understanding of which remedy or preventative will work best for your pet.
How do Fleas Get In?
Adult fleas attach themselves to your cat or dog and make themselves at home. A flea could hop aboard your pet while he is outdoors, come into the house on your pants leg or shoe or even transfer over from another dog at the kennel or park. Once fleas take up residence, they multiply quickly.
Once on your pet, a female flea will begin to lay eggs – up to 40 a day. The eggs don’t stay in place – they just fall off onto your rug, furniture and floor. The eggs can hatch right away or stay dormant in the pupa stage for months; once they sense a food source nearby, they latch onto your pet and start the cycle all over again. Since the adult fleas live on your pet and basically scatter eggs everywhere, you need to address both the living fleas and the eggs if you want to rid your home of these parasites.
Got Fleas? Here’s What to Do Next
Spot treatments or oral medications can go to work within hours and will kill the adults and eggs. Each brand or formulation is different, some attack adults while others target eggs, but both varieties will help rid your pet of these pests. If your pet has a flea allergy or is suffering from the infestation (some are blissfully unaware of or unbothered by the parasites), then an oral medication from your vet can kill the fleas in just a few hours. You’ll have to keep using the treatment to keep the fleas away, but a chemical form of flea treatment will rid your home of the pests quickly. Your vet can help you pick the brand and formula that is best for your pet.
Natural Flea Removal
Some shampoos and collars rely on natural methods to repel fleas; these can work, but your pet needs to be willing to be lathered up for about 10 minutes each time (that’s how long it takes to kill the adult fleas) and the eggs in your home will not be impacted. You’ll have to regularly repeat the treatment to see results.
Treat the Environment
In addition to treating your pet directly, a pesticide (natural or chemical) designed to get fleas and eggs out of your home and yard can also help eliminate an infestation.
Treating your home and your pets and taking steps to prevent infestation can keep your family happy and flea free year round.