Take care of those itchy little buggers once and for all!
We all hate fleas, but it is almost inevitable that at some point in your pet's life, you will have to deal with them. This is especially true if your pet has outside access or is in contact with other animals.
There are a few different options that you can choose when dealing with fleas. You can choose to use chemicals, or go all natural with non-toxic remedies.
Where do fleas come from?
Primarily, fleas from other animals. However, they can live for short periods of time on furniture, bedding, flooring, and grass until they find a host to jump on. This means that when treating your animal for fleas, you need to treat the whole house as well.
Flea control needs to take place both on the animal, and any furniture, flooring, or bedding that the animal has touched. Fleas live on blood and need a warm-blooded animal host in order to survive and breed.
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They can jump up to 16 inches from their hiding place to you or your animal in order to get a bite. They also love to lay their eggs in tiny spaces - the cracks in wood flooring or the space in between your carpet and wall, for example.
Your number one weapon against fleas is prevention. Here are some ways to prevent flea infestation.
- Flea collars: Your pet wears this collar to discourage fleas from taking up residence in their coat. You can either purchase collars laced with insecticides, or non-toxic versions that use harmless essential oils.
- Topical insecticide: Products like Frontline and Advantage prevent fleas by continually releasing small amounts of insecticide on your pet's coat for one month after application. It does not enter your pet's bloodstream so it is safe for pregnant animals as well.
- Frequent baths: Make sure to keep your pet nice and clean so that you can catch any fleas before they become a problem.
If your animal already has fleas, here is how to treat them and prevent re-infestation.
- Shampoo and comb: Your best bet for getting rid of fleas is a nice soapy bath and a once-over with a flea comb afterwards. Make sure to get the animal's neck sudsy before any other part of their body. This is where fleas run to to escape the bath.
- Rosemary rinse: Fleas hate the smell of rosemary. Boil a large handful of rosemary and use the water as a rinse after their bath. Or, use a few drops of rosemary essential oil along your pet's spine.
- Flea treatments and shampoos: Flea dips or baths are your nuclear option. If you have a serious infestation on your hands, you can either give your pet a flea bath at home or take them to the groomer for a full service bath and brushing.
- Treat the environment: Wash all of your pet's bedding and any other fabric that they come in contact with.
- Diatomaceous earth: Sprinkle this fine powder on floors and carpets and then vacuum it up. It dehydrates fleas and prevents eggs from hatching.
Check with your vet if you have a serious infestation or if these measures do not completely eradicate the problem.
How do you protect your pet from fleas? Tell us in the comments below!
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