Fleas are most often associated with animals that spend a lot of time outdoors especially in areas with a lot of wildlife.
It’s true that these pets have higher exposure, but fleas can make their way into your house and affect indoor only animals as well. Their eggs can come in on your shoes and clothes and lead to a flea infestation in just a few weeks.
One flea can multiply to 1,000 fleas on your pet and in your home in as little as 21 days. Knowing that, it is pretty easy to imagine how your cat or dog picking up 2 or 3 fleas in the yard can quickly become a huge problem.
Fleas can be hard to find on your cat or dog, which often leads owners to believe their animal does not have a flea problem.
Having evolved to move through an animal’s hair coat, fleas are excellent at hiding and are rarely seen actually hopping on the surface of the animal.
Even when adult fleas are seen most people do not know that the adults only represent 5% of the flea population in your home; the other 95% of the population are eggs and larva waiting to develop into adults.
These immature stages of the life cycle can persist in an environment for months which is why it can be so difficult to clear a flea infestation from your home.
If you are fighting fleas in your home, it is important to use a veterinary-grade flea insecticide which not only kills the adult fleas, but also inhibits the growth of immature stages of fleas and prevents them from developing into adults.
These preventatives need to be used once a month for several months in a row on all cats and dogs in the house in order to clear an infestation.
In addition to topical preventative, all carpets should be vacuumed every 2-3 days for at least 4 weeks. Pay special attention to vacuuming nooks and crannies where immature fleas like to hide. When you are done vacuuming, put the vacuum bag in a garbage bag, seal tightly, and put in an outdoor trash container.
You should also wash your pet’s bedding once weekly for at least 4 weeks. In cases of extreme infestation, you may need to call an exterminator to treat your house and/or yard.
Luckily, fleas are easy to prevent with monthly veterinary-grade flea preventative which makes the need to treat infestations less and less common.
Keep in mind that dogs and cats do require different flea control because many of the products available for dogs are toxic to cats.
Always read the directions carefully before applying preventative and make sure you have the right product and dosage for your pet.
As always, contact your veterinarian for help in choosing the best flea product for your pet.