Flea Control

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Below you'll find a few methods of controlling both, but always check with your vet first since you are dealing with chemicals and the well being of your pet.

Fleas are very interesting little creatures with their complex 4 stage life cycle (adult, egg, larva, pupa). To fully control fleas, the product you use should work against either the adult or larva stages to get proper control.

Flea shampoos: although shampoos do work, it is not meant for lasting control. Shampoos only last for a couple of days. They leave little residual chemical on your pet when used properly. Shampoos work on the adult fleas.

Flea dips: flea dips leave a lot of chemical residue on your pet, so are usually not the first choice since they are so strong. They shouldn't be used unless absolutely necessary and recommended by your vet. Dips work on the adult fleas.

Flea collars: some flea collars work by either emitting a toxic gas to the fleas or by being absorbed into the pets subcutaneous fat layer. The gas type only work around the head and neck area and actually work better if used in your vacuum cleaner bag to kill any fleas vacuumed up. The collars that absorb are more effective. Collars work on the adult fleas.

Flea powders and sprays: while not the most popular flea control, powders and sprays only last a couple of days. Most powders and sprays only work on the adult fleas, while some others inhibit the egg and larva development.

Spot-on treatments: please talk to your vet about the best choice for your pet. These products such as Advantage® and Frontline® are applied between the shoulder blades of your pet. They typically last approximately one month and work on the adult fleas. Some spot-on treatments include ingredients to inhibit larva from emerging from the flea egg, while some work against larva development.

Oral medications: oral medication such as Program® stop the larva from emerging from the flea egg. When the flea ingests the blood of a treated animal, the female fleas lay eggs that are unable to hatch. Unfortunately they do not kill adult fleas. This type of treatment is essential to break the flea life cycle. Please talk to your vet about the best choice for your pet.

No matter what, more is NOT better when it comes to chemicals or medications. Always carefully follow the directions on the package and only use products labelled for the animal you will be using it on (dog, cat, puppy, kitten etc). The best solution is to always talk to your vet first before using any over the counter chemical on your pet.

Flea control for your home

Only a small fraction of the flea population live on your pet. Most of the adults along with the eggs, larvae and pupa live in the carpeting, bedding and living areas. Unless you also treat these areas, your flea problem will continue.

Daily vacuuming: vacuuming daily is very important in the aide to eradicate flea problems. Vacuuming will pick up the adults, eggs, larva and pupa before they get a chance to develop. People find that putting a flea collar in the vacuum bag helps and you should empty the bag frequently, otherwise the fleas will hatch and develop and leave the bag to re-infest your home.

Washing: it is important to wash all bedding, clothing and removable furniture covers.

Apply insecticide: you can get an over the counter flea fogger or hire a professional exterminator. Always follow the instructions carefully and remove all pets, people and cover all food in the area before using any insecticide. Make sure everything is dry and it is safe to return according the package instructions. If you have small children who put things in their mouth, or a pet that chews on toys etc, I would suggest putting these items in a sealed bag to protect them.

Courtesy of Marilyn Murray ~ For The Love of Animals