It is important to understand that the adult fleas you see on your pet are the tip of the iceberg, making up only 5% of the problem. The remaining 95% of the problem is in the environment in the form of eggs, larvae and pupae. |
Remember that prevention is better than cure so even though you may not think that your house or yard has fleas it does not hurt to have the area treated for fleas. You cannot expect to have a dog or its environment treated once and expect to be completely rid of fleas. It is an ongoing concern and once you have an infestation it may take some time to eradicate the problem.
When dogs who are obviously suffering from flea allergy are seen, a high percentage of owners say that they de-flea their dog every night and catch about 20 fleas in a comb. It takes only one to cause an allergy. A pet acts as a vacuum cleaner for all the fleas in the environment. Kill a flea on the animal and there can be plenty more to take its place.
It seems obvious that unless you tackle the dog's surroundings, treating the dog for fleas is not going to tackle the whole problem.
Many dog owners have a misconception about fleas and it is sometimes hard for them to realise they need to treat the pet's environment as well. It is up to us to educate them.
A lot of clients will say `I've got ground fleas coming up out of the dirt, so there's nothing I can do.' The fleas on the dog are breeding, dropping eggs into the yard/household which are developing into larvae, then pupae, giving rise to new adults to jump on to the dog. Solution - Treat the PETS ENVIRONMENT as well as the pet.
Vacuuming helps to remove some life stages in the environment and the vibrations caused by the machine may also stimulate fleas to emerge from their pupae and be sucked up by the vacuum cleaner. Your dog's bedding should also be washed regularly, preferably every time your dog has its bath. Put rugs/carpets and bedding in direct sunlight as this helps to kill larvae. The surroundings can be sprayed by a professional pest controller, or you can usually purchase something appropriate from your local vet or produce store. The inside of your home should also be done, you can again use a professional or you can purchase flea bombs from your local produce or vet or supermarket.
Indoor flea control involves mechanically removing all stages of the fleas, killing any remaining adults, and preventing immature forms from developing.
Start by vacuuming thoroughly, especially below drapes, under furniture edges, and where your pet sleeps. It is estimated that vacuuming can remove up to 50% of flea eggs. Vacuum daily in high traffic areas, weekly in others. Each time, seal your vacuum bag in a plastic bag and discard it immediately. Do NOT place mothballs or flea collars in the vacuum, since toxic fumes could result. 2.
Use a product that will kill any remaining adult fleas and also stop the development of eggs and larvae. You will need a product that contains both an adulticide and an insect growth regulator.
Foggers are especially good for large open areas. Surface sprays can reach areas such as baseboards, moldings, cracks, and under furniture where foggers cannot reach. Choose the product(s) you use with care, taking into account the presence of children, fish, birds, persons with asthma, etc. Your veterinarian can help you choose the appropriate products for your situation. In severe infestations, you may need the help of a professional exterminator. 3.
Wash your pet's bedding weekly and treat the bed and surrounding area with a product that contains both an adulticide and an insect growth regulator. 4. Do not forget to also clean and treat your automobile, pet carrier, garage, basement, or any other place your pet spends much time.
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