Avoid Fleas and Outsmart this Clever Parasite

Keeping your pet and home flea-free is not always simple, so let's look at ways to outsmart this clever parasite and what pitfalls to avoid.

Fleas are a pretty clever and tenacious parasite, making flea control quite tricky – especially in the warmer months. It’s not always just a matter of choosing any flea product and hoping for the best. That’s because fleas don’t just live on our cats and dogs, they also live in the environment. If you feel like your flea treatment isn’t working, it may be that there are a lot of fleas living in your house and yard, resulting in a constant supply of new fleas to replace those being killed on your pet.

Why are fleas so clever?

Fleas are extremely efficient breeders: one single flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day. And these little eggs tend to end up in your pet’s bedding, in the yard, in mattresses, underneath beds and all sorts of places that can be difficult to reach. If you are just a few days late with your flea medication, it is easy to quickly end up with thousands of new fleas. The other reason fleas are so clever is that only 5% of your flea population is visible on your pet. The remaining flea eggs, larvae and pupae live in your house, the yard and the local park, and can be difficult to get rid of.

Which flea products work best?

Generally, flea collars, shampoos and natural remedies are pretty ineffective. Some people recommend natural flea treatments, like garlic. Unfortunately, natural does not always mean safe. In fact, our pets react very differently to things that are perfectly harmless to humans. There are many parasite control products that have gone through strict safety trials and are proven to be effective, so don’t waste your money and time on things that won’t work and may actually harm your pet.

The fastest-acting flea killer is Comfortis, a monthly flavoured chew. If you want to include worming, you may want to consider Panoramis. Or, if you want to combine your flea and tick control, we recommend Bravecto or Nexgard.

Some people prefer liquid spot treatments. For cats, we love Advocate (which also does worms) and for dogs, Advantix is a great option, especially if you have biting flies too.

Do I need to treat the environment?

If you are still seeing fleas, despite using one of the above products or something similar recommended by your vet, it is possible that you have a large number of flea eggs, larvae and pupae somewhere in the house or yard. Roughly 95% of fleas live in the environment, not on your pet. This means you can have new fleas hatching every single day and jumping onto your pet.

How to treat the environment for fleas

Vacuuming seems like the most straightforward solution, but unfortunately it does not necessarily solve your flea problem. Flea eggs simply fall off your pet, but the next stage is those mobile larvae that move up to a metre away from where the egg originally fell. They instinctively head somewhere warm, dark and protected, like deep into the carpet pile, under furniture or into mattresses or couches. The larvae then form a sticky, protective shell around them which protects them from chemicals, the environment and your vacuum cleaner.

To target those fleas within their protective shell you need specialised insect foggers like Fido’s flea bomb,If done correctly, a flea bomb will protect your home for 9  months. The key is to do a good vacuum first, which will help to suck up any newly emerged fleas, flea eggs and any dirt that might get in the way of the insect fogger killing the flea pupae.

Outdoor areas & pet beds

Taking care of the outdoor areas involves clearing away any mulch and leaf litter, blocking off areas under the house, getting rid of old couches and mattresses and keeping the grass short. Wherever your pet sleeps needs to be targeted too, whether that be indoors or outdoors. Pet beds need to be fully machine washable on a hot cycle in the washing machine. Just washing the cover is not going to kill flea pupae that are living inside a dog bed. If you have a larger dog, this is the best flea-resistant bed.

Here’s to a flea-free Summer!

We hope that the above has helped to solve your flea problem, hopefully before it even gets started. If you do have any questions or if you find something is not working, contact us and we will help you solve the problem once and for all.