Nobody wants pesky little gnats, flies, mosquitos, and other creepy crawlies in their house. Fleas included. They are a nuisance both to your pets and your household. They are small, jumpy, multiply quickly, and are just plain annoying to deal with. Pets can pick up fleas from nature, other animals, or even through humans. If you notice any excessive itching or scratching, this is usually a telltale sign your pet has fleas. You may also see them jumping around. The good news is there are plenty of ways to get rid of these pesky creatures. A flea infestation can test your patience and does require persistence. But you can eradicate the problem with a combination of methods. These tiny, blood-sucking parasites can carry diseases, so it’s best to deal with them as quickly as possible. Check out our ultimate guide on how to get rid of fleas on dogs, cats, and more!
Excessive itching or scratching is usually a telltale sign your pet has fleas
Before we see how to get rid of them, we first need to understand them. Fleas go through four life stages – egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Let’s take a look at how to recognize the eggs, fleas and tell tales signs your pet may be infested with them.
How to get rid of fleas on dogs, cats, and more
Flea eggs look similar to small rice grains. They are oval-shaped and aren’t any larger than 0.5 mm, which is pretty much around the size of a salt or a sand grain. When it comes to color, they are most often off-white, vivid white, or translucent. It is quite common to see them as dandruff, however, there are some important differences. Unlike the flat flakes of dandruff, which come in irregular shapes, the flea eggs are always oval-shaped. Not only that but dandruff tends to stick to pets’ hair, whereas flea eggs are quite slippy and spread easily around the house. It is difficult to find the flea eggs both on dogs and cats. And if their fur is light-colored it’s even harder. And, since they fall so easily, our fur friends don’t normally have a lot of eggs on them. Use a magnifying glass to help you know what you are looking for as well as a flea comb to easily bring them out. The combs long, fine teeth get between hairs to filter out the tiny white eggs. Make sure to check all the flea’s favorite hiding places: in the base of their tail, at the nape of the neck, around the haunches, and in between their shoulders.
Flea eggs are uniformly oval-shaped
While the larva come from an egg, they do not stay in the same place they hatched. As their host, aka the animal in most cases, moves around so do they. They fall off at all types of different places. While scratching or shaking, the pets unknowngly throws them around. It takes the larvea from two days to a week to fully emerge. They do not enjoy sunlight, so they try to get away from ant type of light source. This means you will find them in places, such as carpets, ot cracks inside of the floorboards, ot pet beds. As long as they have enough flea dirt to eatm they will survive. Flea dirt is quite yucky. It’s what we call the dried up poop from adult fleas. Which is technically just blood that has dried up. Yep, we know. Disgusting. After that just like a caterpiller, they get into cocoon mode.
Fleas go through four life stages – egg, larva, pupa, and adult
Once in the cocoons, the larve officially become pupae. And after that they become full grown adults. The worst part about this stage is that pupae can become dormate for a really long time. They can survive months, sometimes years until the get triggered to emerge. This happens when they find a host. In some cases, people have bought home and when they moved in they have a flea problem, as the pupae have been sitting and waiting for months. When it comes to how they look, they are as big as adult fleas, and they turn from white, to yellow, to brown. However, they are very hard to spot and they are super sticky, which helps them cling to carpets much better. So, any light vacuuming or sweeping won’t really get the job done. Plus, the cocoon helps them fight of many household chemicals, which makes them really hard to get rid off.
Cocoons have a sticky outer coating that allows them to hide deep in the home
When the flea has come out from the cocoon, it will need to start feeding. This usually needs to happen within a couple of hours and need a host to feed on. After their first-ever feeding, adult fleas will quickly start to multiply and will start to lay eggs. All this within just a few days. However, female fleas must have fed in order to be able to lay eggs. New adults can be recognized by their flat-body. They also look very tiny and dark. However, once they have fed on the dog or cat, they start to grow and don’t look flat anymore. They will also look much lighter and start to look more like the fleas we know. Adult fleas spend a lot of time on their host. This way they can easily feed, as well as breed, and then lay their eggs. They can also live just a few weeks or several months. Fleas sometimes may appear as they are flying, however, fleas cannot fly, but do jump very high.
New adult fleas have a flat-bodied appearance and are very small and dark
Best Way To Get Rid Of Fleas
Now that we know how we can recognize these pests and where to find them, let’s see what are some of the best ways to eliminate them. These are the best methods on how to get rid of fleas on dogs, cats, as well as your home. Keep in mind that you have to tackle the problem from all angles in order to really eradicate the infestation. Treat your pet and its living environment at the same time. Depending on your pet’s boundaries, this may include your whole house or yard.
Let’s see what are some of the best ways on how to get rid of fleas on dogs, cats, and more
It’s important to start with the source of the fleas, which is usually your pet. These are some of the best ways you can rid your fluffy, four-legged friend from being attacked by these little creators over and over again.
Pets cannot treat themselves
Tick and Flea Shampoo
There are plenty of varients of tick and flea shampoo you can find at supermarkets and pet shops. If you use it properly, these shampoos are very effective. However, some are less or more effective depending on the brand and the ingredients. Search for nontoxic shampoos if you are planning to use them on a puppy. It will also take between five to ten minutes to get the dog lathered up and the shampoo to start to sink in. Some dogs may not be able to stand all soaking wet like this. After you’ve done the flea shampoo treatment, make sure to give your pet a warm, nice bath. Use a comb to make sure you’ve removed all the fleas from the pets hair. However, the downside of shampoo’s is that they are a short-term solution. They will not prevent future infestations.
A nice, warm bath with some flea shampoo will do the job
They are many flea products in stores. On the bright side the newer products, including those for ticks, take all of the confusion out of controlling flea infestations. There are plenty of effective brands you can find even in some supermarkets. Prescription treatments present one of the best ways to kill fleas fast. Make sure to speak to your vet about what products you should try out. Some medications begin destroying fleas within a couple of hours, and the best part is they can last for around three months. Products that contain spinosad start to work within half an hour, however, they last only for around a month. There are some products that aren’t able to destroy adult fleas. However, their job is more so to prevent eggs from hatching. They are helpful as they help to break the cycle of the little pest. When no reproduction is not possible, the fleas will eventually be eradicated. That is as long as your cat or dog doesn’t come into contact with any new fleas. If you live in a warm climate, prescription flea treatment is a year-round job. If you live in other climates, treatment must start at least in early springtime.
Make sure to talk to your vet about preventative flea and tick medicine
Oral and Topical Flea Control
Since fleas are persistent and annoying, you will need flea control in the future. Dog flea and tick pills and other spot-on dog flea and tick treatments have proven to be some of the fastest ways to rid your pet of fleas and keep them clean. There are many variations, as some only target adult fleas, while other target fleas through all stages of the life cycle. Others will combine flea control and heartworm prevention in one treatment. Some may require a prescription, while others do not. It will depend on your individual dog’s or cat’s needs. Make sure to talk to your vet about which option is the best for your pet.
Spot-on dog flea treatments are some of the fastest ways to rid of fleas
Alongside treating your pets, you will also need to treat your home and yard. Basically anywhere the fleas could have gotten. Make sure to not overlook this, as it is crucial to get fully rid of the fleas in all life stages.
Fleas can get anywhere around the house
Fleas don’t withstand hot water and soap, so washing everything in the washing machine with some detergent is a must. Make sure to use the highest heat setting. Wash all the bedding, clothes, and anything you think has come into contact with the pests, If the infestation is severe, consider getting rid of old bedding and starting anew.
Wash all the bedding, clothes, and anything you think has come into contact
A light vacuum won’t do the job. Make sure to use a powerful vacuum on any floors, mattresses, and upholstery you need to. As we mentioned, any cracks and other tight spaces are usually a great hiding spot for fleas and their eggs, larvae, and cocoons to hide. If you are using a vacuum with a bag you can easily dispose of it without having to come in contact with its contents and risk any escaping. However, there is a way in which you can increase the effectiveness of this. Use baking soda! Lay down baking soda along your carpets and furniture, take a hard brush and rub it into the fabric. After that, vacuum your home thoroughly. You can also use salt.
Use a powerful vacuum on the floors, mattresses, and upholstery
Use a steam cleaner for your carpets, sofas, upholstery, and pet beds. The combination of high heat and soap is the enemy of fleas in all stages of life. Make sure to pay special attention to any spots where your pet typically lies down or spends a lot of time. This may be on the couch, in their bed, or even certain carpets.
The combination of high heat and soap is the enemy of fleas in all stages of life
How To Get Rid Of Fleas Naturally?
If you want to know how to get rid of fleas on dogs, or cats, but don’t want to wait to book an appointment with your vet, why not try our some natural remedies. Here is a video with some super effective ideas.
Homemade Flea Spray For Dogs and Cats
Why not make some super easy sprays to use around the house. These sprays are non-toxic, so that they can be used safely around pets and children. They are also made from common household items and a type of natural remedy for fleas. You can aslo make your evry own homemade dog food!
Make your own DIY sprays
Here is all you will need for a herbal spray and how to make it.
- 4 l Vinegar
- 2 l Water
- 500 ml Lemon Juice
- 250 ml Witch hazel
- Spray Bottle
- Mix all of the ingredients togther inside of a large spray bottle.
- Before applying the product around your home, make sure you have cleaned it properly.
- Once this is completed, apply the natural flea remedy to your home using a heavy spray, spraying carpets, furniture, pet bedding, window sills, and floors.
Vinegar is super useful against gnats as well
If you want a citrus smell around the house that will also help you battle fleas, try out this lemon spray.
- 1 Lemon
- 500 ml Water
- Spray Bottle
- Slice the lemon thinly.
- Por the water in a pot.
- Add the water and the lemon to the pot with water.
- Bring the mixture to boil.
- Let the citrus mixture stay put overnight.
- Get a spray bottle and pour it into it.
- After that go wild. Spray all the infested areas you can think of.
These sprays are non-toxic, so that they can be used safely around pets and children
We hope you found all of these tips and tricks on how to get rid of fleas on dogs, cats, and the house. Now you can enjoy spending time with your fluffy friends without having to worry about those pesky little critters.
How to get rid of fleas on dogs, cats, and more