The best flea treatment will always be one that is used consistently, all flea products have a finite period of efficacy and there may be a flea infestation in your home before you notice any signs or symptoms. The best approach is to use an efficacious preventative product on your pet regularly and ensure flea larvae do not survive in your home environment.
To ensure your pet is protected against fleas it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your vet recommended flea treatment product. For the majority of flea treatments, the advice is to apply the product every four weeks. By ensuring that your pet is always protected, any fleas that do attach to your pet will die before they have the opportunity to breed and spread their offspring through your home. Consistent flea treatment will prevent the establishment of an infestation which can then take months to clear. Protect My Pet is here to help make consistent flea treatment as easy as possible.
Any flea landing on an animal protected with a spot-on flea treatment will die within 24hours. This means new fleas arriving on your pet will die before they have the opportunity to reproduce.
As it takes up to 24 hours for fleas to die, you may occasionally spot an adult flea on your pet. This may be a sign that your pet is coming into contact with fleas in their environment or through contact with other infested animals. Ensure that all steps are taken to remove and kill any eggs and larvae in your home, in addition to treating all cats and dogs with a reliable flea treatment.
If you have fleas in your home then all animals need to be treated as well as treating the home environment. Even if you have only spotted fleas on one animal all pets need to be treated or they will act as hosts harbouring fleas and dropping eggs throughout the home. Cats, dogs, rabbits, and ferrets can all be hosts for the most common flea Ctenocephalides felis.
For every one adult flea living on your pet, 100 immature fleas will be living in your home. Flea larvae thrive within our comfortable heated homes all year round. Eggs slide off your pet into their surroundings, more flea eggs and larvae will be found in the areas your pet spends the most time. This is likely to be on their bed or their favourite comfy spot.
Thick carpet makes the ideal home for flea larvae, they can burrow down to the base of the carpet, making them more difficult to remove. Wooden floors with lots of cracks to hide in also make a good home. Tile and vinyl covered floors do not provide the same level of protection and larvae are most often removed from these areas through routine cleaning.
Vacuum carpets, bedding, and furniture thoroughly using a nozzle attachment, remove the cleaner bag or empty the container immediately. Bedding, cushions and soft toys should be washed at 60° C.
Use an environmental flea spray, these sprays typically contain two main ingredients, an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) to prevent the development of immature stages of the flea, and an adulticide to kill adult fleas. Use a vet recommended product such as Acclaim, Indorex or RIP Fleas.
Flea bombs may not reach into the crevices where the flea larvae and pupae like to hide. If you are dealing with a serious infestation your local council or a pest control company will be able to assist you, DIY flea bombs are not recommended. Remember that no products are able to kill the pupae stage in the flea lifecycle, so fleas may continue to emerge after you have implemented the steps above to treat your home. Do not worry, if you have treated all your pets and sprayed your home these newly emerged adults will not survive long enough to reproduce.
It takes several months of consistent flea prevention strategies to completely remove a flea infestation. There are no treatments, either on-pet or environmental that can kill the pupae stage (between larvae and adult) of the flea lifecycle.
As the adult fleas emerge from their pupae they will be killed by the environmental treatment, or they shall attach to your pet and be killed by their spot-on treatment. For this reason, you may continue to see adult fleas months after implementing strict flea control, this is not a sign that your treatments are not working.
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Written by Lindsay Rose MA VetMB CertAVP CertVBM MRCVS.