I hate fleas! Getting rid of fleas in your home is important both for your comfort and your health – and that of your pets.
Is there anything more annoying than a flea infestation in your home? Everywhere you turn, it seems you are getting bitten. Worse, you can’t even see the creature that is attacking you. But you have the telltale signs of little red bites running up your legs, your arms, all over.
And as bad as it is for you, it’s even worse for your poor dog or cat who probably doesn’t even understand what a flea is or why they are attacking him or her.
Exactly what is a flea anyway?
Fleas are wingless insects that are built perfectly by nature for biting skin and sucking blood. They seek out warm-blooded creatures that include not only us and our dogs and cats but other mammals, such as rats, rabbits, chickens, and birds.
Fleas need a new blood meal every 48 hours to survive. Your mission, should you accept it, is to deprive them of any more free meals. Fortunately, we have a lot of effective weapons in our home flea control arsenal.
Home Flea Control
How do you get rid of fleas in your house? First, be proactive. If you have pets that you take or allow outdoors, expect them to attract fleas. They will. The only way to prevent them from getting bitten and bringing those fleas indoors is to keep them indoors 100 percent of the time. Even then, fleas may hitch a ride indoors on your clothing and settle on your pets once inside.
Here’s how to protect your pets’ outdoor play time while getting aggressive with fleas to get rid of them in your home:
Has your pet already been infested?
Commons signs that your dog or cat has become the new host of a flea infestation include excessive biting and scratching. Fleas tend to attack your pet’s neck, tail, and lower back aggressively. Red patches on your dog or cat’s skin often indicate that your pets have been scratching to relieve themselves of fleas biting and sucking on them for some time.
If you part your pet’s hair, you may see signs that look like dark dandruff all over. This is flea waste, dried blood, a sure sign that your pet is getting bitten.
Best Way to Kill Fleas in Your House
1. Use a flea comb to remove as many live fleas as you can. First, prepare a solution of soapy water in a small container. After you pull the comb through your pet’s hair, immerse it immediately in the soapy water solution. Leave it immersed as you shake off any fleas into the water. Let them drown there and pour the water out later. Continue grooming your pet with the flea comb until you are no longer finding fleas on the comb.
2. Use a flea shampoo to give your pet a flea bath.
Bathe your dog regularly, using a shampoo designed to eliminate fleas. If your cat tolerates bathing, bathe him or her as well. If not, use a dry shampoo to get rid of flea waste and coat any remaining fleas with the powder. Bathing your cat will be easier if you begin soon after he or she comes into your family and do it on a regular basis. This way, your pet will learn that getting bathed is one way you show your love.
A flea bath is one of the fastest ways to rid your pets of fleas. Look for a mild flea shampoo so that you won’t irritate your pet’s skin or strip its hair of its natural oils. If you can’t find one designated for pets, use a baby shampoo.
3. Use flea medication designed for your dog or cat. The important thing to remember is to get the correct formula. If it says it’s for cats, don’t use it on your dog and vice versa. Pay particular attention to whether the product label says it is safe for your puppy or kitten.
Administer these flea medications every month. They are very easy to use, and they don’t bother your pet. Take one vial. While holding your pet in place gently, with one hand, crack open the vial. Part the fur on the back of your dog or cat’s neck between the shoulder blades, and squeeze the contents of the vial directly onto the skin. Make sure you apply it to the base of the neck, so that your pet can’t lick it.
That’s it. The medication will spread protection over your pet’s entire body within a few hours. Now, give your dog or cat a nice treat for sitting still and being good while you protected the entire family from the spread of a flea infestation.
4. If you have multiple pets, you must treat all of them. Otherwise, fleas will move from one pet to the next.
5. Find every place in the house your pet sleeps, plays, and relaxes and treat it. Adult fleas live on your pets, but their larvae can live in your carpeting, rugs, bedding, pet bedding, closets, and other areas pets hang out.
A flea can lay 30-50 eggs every day, and the eggs hatch within a week. So realize that if you have found one flea on your pet, there are others. You’re in a race with time to get rid of them before they infest your entire home. Once hatched, the larvae can feed on the dried blood, flea waste, their parents leave behind in carpets, cushions, bedding, and other places.
Make sure you vacuum all carpets, rugs, and cushions thoroughly for at least two weeks. Throw the bedding into nice hot water and wash it or throw it away.
Lurking in your carpets are the next generation of fleas, waiting to be hatched. When they emerge from their egg as larvae, they feed on the dried blood (your pets’ and yours) their parents leave behind, mature within one week, and begin seeking their own food sources (you and your pets). This is not a problem for you if you have hardwood floors or tile.
If you have carpets or throw rugs, you must steam clean or vacuum thoroughly everywhere your pets are allowed to roam. Use a product specifically designed for carpets, such as Flea Stoppers or Fleabusters.
Flea Stoppers is a borate-based product made up of tiny granules designed to penetrate the nap of carpet. Unlike boric acid, the granules will not create dust that you and your pets can inhale.
Flea Stoppers granules work by dehydrating the flea larvae as they emerge from their cocoons and eat. When the larvae hatch from their eggs, the first meal they consume will be the granules. They eat them and die. Adult fleas who make contact with the granules will also dry out and die within 4 to 6 days.
First, vacuum to remove as many fleas and pet hairs as possible. Dispose of the contents immediately in an outside container. Work the granules into the dry fibers of your carpet or cushions. Make sure no powder is left exposed on the surface.
Vacuum one week later. Within 3 to 5 weeks, your carpet and cushions should be completely free of fleas, eggs, and larvae. You have destroyed the entire flea life cycle, so they will not return. Fleas who enter the home later will also die.
This product is organic. It is guaranteed to work for one year.
Fleabusters is also a borate-based flea killer. It is “statically charged,” a property that helps it cling to carpet fibers even after vacuuming. It works similar to Flea Stoppers by dehydrating the flea at every stage of its life cycle. Learn more about Flea Stoppers in the video below.
Get Flea Stoppers.
Usually, treating your pet, carpet, and pet hangouts in the house will get rid of all fleas. Occasionally, the yard must also be treated to prevent re-infestation by pets who spend a lot of time outdoors.
The University of Kentucky Pest Entomology Department suggests testing for the presence of fleas in your yard by walking around the yard in white socks that are pulled to the knee. If fleas are present, they will attach themselves to the socks and become visible against this white background.
If you must treat the yard, concentrate on the areas where your pets rest and play. The doghouse, fence area, and other hangouts are prime areas. Sections that are exposed to the sun throughout the day are unlikely to be flea havens. They prefer less-exposed area.
Most of the yard sprays contain permethrin as the active ingredient. Apply them using the hose. Do not allow your pets back into the yard until everything has dried.
The Best Flea Treatment
Start early. Treat your pets. Treat your carpet, bedding, and cushions. Then, treat your yard if necessary. Find all the flea and tick control products you need at the best prices. I hate fleas, and I do everything possible to make sure they’re not welcome in my home.