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Fleas are one of a pet parent’s worst nightmares. Those pesky, nearly impossible-to-see insects do nothing more than cause itchiness, skin irritation, and incredible frustration.
While pet parents can provide flea medications and bathe their pets to eliminate active infestations, treating pets is only one part of the equation. The areas in and around the home require treatment, too, or pet parents may find themselves battling fleas on their dog or cat all over again.
Treating a pet for fleas is the first step to eliminating an infestation. Pet parents will also need to treat the whole home, inside and out.
Adult female fleas lay an average of 50 eggs a day. These eggs fall from a cat or dog’s body, which means they can be all over the home, particularly in areas where the pet spends most of their time. Those eggs can lay dormant for months, but a pet’s body heat can encourage them to hatch.
To get rid of lingering fleas and flea eggs, pet parents should:
Wash all washable items a pet spends significant time on — pet beds, blankets, pet parent bedspreads, cushions — in hot water.
Vacuum surfaces — hardwood, tile, linoleum, carpets — and curtains.
Use a flea spray or fogger that takes care of fleas at all life stages, or hire an exterminator to help.
Pets typically pick up fleas and ticks outdoors. Pet parents will need to treat the outside perimeter of their home to reduce the risk of new insects coming inside.
To treat the exterior of the home, pet parents should:
Keep the grass trimmed.
Invest in a spray treatment for the yard.
Keep leaves, brush, and trash to a minimum to decrease potential hiding places for fleas.
Avoid over watering the yard and gardens. Fleas thrive in moist environments, so minimizing standing water can help discourage them.
After successfully treating a flea infestation, pet parents should still take steps to keep their pets safe. Yard maintenance can help keep fleas and ticks from taking up residence. Regular indoor cleanings — including vacuuming and washing pet bedding — can also help keep fleas at bay.
Additional tips on how to prevent fleas on cats and dogs include:
Monthly flea preventatives for all household pets, including cats that live exclusively indoors. Pet parents should use these preventatives year-round, even in the winter months.
Periodic bathing and grooming sessions. Even cats can benefit from a bath occasionally.
Regular flea (and tick) checks. A fine-toothed flea comb can come in handy for this task.
Ridding the home of fleas and ticks may take a few months. However, taking the time to treat the pet and the house — inside and outside — is vital for eliminating an infestation and preventing future ones. If pet parents have any questions or need additional tips on preventing fleas on cats and dogs, pet parents can consult with a veterinarian via Fuzzy’s 24/7 Live Vet Chat.