Oh, no! Fido and Fluffy have fleas and now the whole family is scratching!
If this scenario sounds all too familiar, take heart, there are things you can do to keep your household flea-free.
Of course, the best defense is an offense. In other words, it's best to take preventative steps before fleas take over your home.
As far as prevention goes, I have found that fleas are less likely to attack a pet who is in good health and has a healthy coat. Fleas are attracted to pets with dry skin -- it’s easier for them to burrow and get to the blood. Using my Hugs and Kisses vitamin mineral supplements will assure that your pet’s skin and coat are moist and less attractive to the flea. Good nutrition, including supplements and coat conditioners, go a long way in helping your pet cope with fleas.
Brushing your pet on a regular basis may also help, particularly if your pet spends time outdoors. Brushing helps remove any fleas and flea eggs that your pet may have picked up.
Check your pet regularly using what I like to call "Warren's White Towel Test." By rolling your pet in a white towel, you will see the fleas and the flea dirt (brown specks) if they are present.
Treatment of Your Pet
If your pet tests positive for fleas after the white towel test, he or she can be shampooed, dipped, sprayed or dusted with a flea control product. If you opt to treat your pet yourself (instead of having your veterinarian or groomer do it), always follow the manufacturer's label directions, never mix products, and never use a product made specifically for dogs on cats or vice versa. Following the label directions is
particularly critical if you're dealing with a puppy or a kitten - some products are too hazardous for use on younger pets.
Many of the Flea products on the market contain chemicals that can be bad for your pets—that is why I recommend and use only NaturVet’s all-natural Herbal Flea Spray. It smells like a spa and contains Rosemary & Cedar Oil. It can be sprayed on your pet’s bedding and is safe for use on all pets over the age of six weeks.
If you opt to use a spray or dust, here's a helpful hint - wrap a towel around your pet for a few minutes after the product's application to help maximize the number of fleas killed.
Treatment of the Environment
It is not sufficient to only treat your pet. The key to effective flea control requires a
two-pronged approach - treatment of your pet and treatment of your pet's environment. And if your pet spends any time in your yard, that means treatment of the yard, as well as treatment of your home.
Ideally, your pet's environment should be treated on the same day as your pet is treated. If you opt to do it yourself, using flea bombs in your home, again it is critical to follow all the manufacturer's directions and warnings. To treat the environment I use NaturVet No Flea carpet crystals.
Another approach is the application of a water-based flea spray on your pet's bedding, carpets and other areas your pet frequents. Here, again, you must read and follow the manufacturer's label directions. It's also a good idea to wash your pet's bedding frequently. And if your pet sleeps with you, you'll need to wash your bedding frequently, too!
Vacuuming regularly will help pick up some of the fleas and their eggs. Cut up a flea collar and put it in your vacuum cleaner bag to ensure that the fleas and eggs you pick up will not survive to re-infest your home.
If your pet spends time in your yard, treat the outdoor environment with products commercially available. Remember, your pet might have been treated for fleas but other animals (i.e. squirrels, stray cats) may carry them into your yard. Again, it's important to follow all label directions and warnings.
If you'd rather not do the treatment yourself, you can hire a professional exterminating company to do the job. Be sure to let them know about all the pets in your household, including fish and birds. Ask them what their process entails. Do pets and people have to vacate the premises? For how long? Do they guarantee their work? There are several companies who offer one-year guarantees and use non-toxic products which eliminate the need for your family (including your four-footed members) to leave the house.
And finally, don’t forget to speak with your vet. There several new topical flea treatments on the market they may recommend.
The key to successful flea control is the simultaneous treatment of your pet and the environment. By following the above, you can be flea-free!