As you may know, fleas are not only parasitic pests, they are carriers of disease and tapeworms which can infect dogs and cats and sometimes human children.
Last year I brought home fleas, apparently, on my clothing from a client’s home where I spent several days. They had a bad infestation in their home because the treatments that they had tried hadn’t been effective. Such a flea infestation is a nightmare. Now I realize that I should not have entered the home until they resolved the problem.
Until this point the flea treatments I had been using on my dogs and cats had always been effective. Usually I would only have to give each animal two treatments, once a year. Not this time. I used the treatments and found fleas again before the treatments were even finished.
Two different vets told me at the time that the popular treatments hadn’t been working well for a couple of years. This was in 2015 and these things change over time, but if you perform an internet search you can see that many are saying the fleas have become resistant. Ask your vet which treatment is currently effective.
Here is what worked very well for me – and this was during an intense flea season caused by two mild winters in a row. After finding those first few fleas this treatment got rid of them and they have not been back. (UPDATE 7/18) There are increasing groups of people who now say oral treatments have harmed or killed their pets. Example, click to read: Dark side of flea medications My best friend swears Nexgard caused the cancer from which her beloved six year old dog recently died. There are Facebook groups and petitions created by people who claim hundreds of animals have died from these drugs. I can make no claims one way or the other.
- I treated my animals with the topical treatments my vet recommended. (Very important to apply those to the skin as per directions and not just the fur.)
- AT THE SAME TIME I treated my carpets with flea spray from my vet.
- I washed everything in my home that was washable in the washing machine, including sofa cushion covers. I used hot water on all fabrics that could handle it and added bleach to all loads where that was appropriate. I dried things in the dryer on the hottest setting that wouldn’t damage. Heat kills fleas.
- I vacuumed the carpets and upholstered furniture every day for a few days and every other day for as long as I could keep that up. I always dispose of the dirt in the outdoor trash immediately after vacuuming.
- It has became part of my normal routine to sprinkle baking soda on my carpets after I vacuum each week. Baking soda and salt kill the fleas but not the eggs. Therefore you must keep it up throughout the flea growth cycle. You can mix them but I prefer to use just baking soda on my carpet. The first time I used it heavily and vacuumed it after two days. Now I sprinkle lightly and I leave it there til the next vacuuming. If any shows you can brush it in easily with a broom, as you want it to work down in between the fibers anyway. The dust seems to stay low as you apply, but don’t inhale it. I assume the baking soda helps with odors also.
It’s important to check for fleas regularly.
Flea combs are inexpensive and make it easy to find fleas or flea eggs that might be on your pet. You’ll want good lighting and a cup of water with suds of soap. If you catch a flea, place it in the cup to kill it.