Flea Season is Here!
With the very wet spring most areas of the country experienced and the very hot temperatures we are now enduring, mosquitoes have become a big problem for us two-leggers. Similarly, fleas are out in abundance, which can cause problems for our four-legged friends. How do you protect your dogs?
Multi-Level Approach to Fleas
According to Doctors Foster and Smith, controlling pests requires a multi-level approach consisting of Purge, Prevent, and Protect. They note that “adult fleas spend most of their time on an animal, but flea eggs, larvae, and pupae are most often found in the pet’s environment.” They estimate that for every flea you see, there are probably hundreds of eggs and larvae in your yard and home. They are especially likely to congregate in carpeting, bedding, and under furniture. Yuk!
Purging the fleas requires you to cleanse the animal’s body of pests either by using a specially-designated spray or shampoo. In addition, the house and yard must be thoroughly cleaned to get rid of fleas and ticks. Vacuuming thoroughly using a flea and tick carpet powder and being sure to get under the edges of the furniture is important, as is laundering bedding, curtains, and throw rugs. A fogger is then used to spray the area and kill any remaining fleas and ticks.
Choosing a fogger
Flea foggers, also known as flea bombs, contain a potent mix of chemicals designed to kill. Unfortunately, they don’t do a good job of distinguishing between their victims. Your pets and children are just as likely to be poisoned as the fleas are. By design, foggers spread their poisons into baseboards, moldings, and cracks to kill hidden pests; which means you likely won’t be able to clean up all of the pesticide before you let your kids and pets back into the house.
When you shop for a fogger, read the labels carefully. Nylar is the chemical often used because it is effective against all life stages of the flea – egg, larvae, pupae, and adult. Check to see how long you will need to stay out of the rooms you are fogging, and how long the treatment is expected to last. Good foggers should promise at least three months of relief. The packaging will also tell you any other steps you should take before fogging, such as turning off lights, heating & air conditioning fans, and pilot lights.
Because these products contain hazardous chemicals, be sure to follow all label directions exactly and choose your fogger from a reputable company.
Once you have gone through all the work to remove the fleas from your animals and home, you will want to prevent them from returning. Keep in mind that the way fleas likely got into your home originally was to hitch a ride on your pets. Therefore, using a topical treatment such as Frontline Plus or K-9 Advantix makes sense. Keep the fleas off of your pet, and they won’t come into your home and lay eggs.
PetCareRx offers a wide variety of topical treatments to choose from. Most are applied to the nape of the dog’s neck monthly, and some protect against other problems such as ticks and heartworm. If you decide to buy your flea control products from someone other than your vet, make sure you advise the vet which product you use so your dog is not over-treated (and potentially overdosed) for some of these other diseases.
Your ongoing flea program consists of protecting against further infestations. Depending on the climate where you live, you might have to apply topical products throughout the year. Vacuum and clean your pet’s bedding frequently, using flea products as needed. You might also need to spray your yard to keep pests at bay.
Although we usually think of calling an exterminator for problems like termites or cockroaches, they can also help you fight a flea infestation. If your problem seems out of control or if everything you’ve tried has failed, you might consider calling in a professional like Orkin to help. The Learning Center on Orkin’s website offers a seasonal pest report by region that can help you know when to expect certain pests to be a problem.