Fleas are terrible! Once they infect your pet, they can infest your house, too, meaning they’re in your carpet, in your bedding, where you eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom. You can’t just bathe your dog and hope the soapy water has drowned them in one go. Fleas are persistent, and you must properly clean them out or risk an infestation. Here’s what you need to look for, and what steps you should take when you realize your dog has fleas and has likely brought them into to the house with him:
De-Flea Your Pet
Fleas come into your home through your pet. If you notice them scratching incessantly, you will need to check if they have fleas. You can’t clean out the house until the main source of the fleas, your pet, has been treated for their fleas. First, you need to start with a fine-tooth metal comb, or a flea comb. Signs of fleas are both fleas and flea faeces, which look like little black commas. Drop any fleas you find into soapy water to kill them. Once you’ve cleared out the adult fleas, it’s time to get some flea and tick prevention for dogs that will kill not only the adults, but the larvae, too.
Flea lifespans are complicated. At any time only a small percentage of the total fleas on your pet will be adults, the rest will be either eggs, or larvae, waiting to replenish the adult population. Medication is the only way to combat them! Topical medication typically needs to be applied monthly, whereas flea prevention collars can last up to six months.
Clean Your Home
Fleas can jump. They can jump from pet to pet; they can jump from your pet to the floor. Knowing this, it is crucial to clear your home as much as possible so that the floor is accessible to your vacuum. You don’t have to bother with the heavy furniture that is flush on the floor, as the fleas wouldn’t be able to get under them.
Next, clear your home out of children and pets. Depending on the severity of the infestation, you will either have to wash any bedding that your pet uses, or destroy/get rid of it completely. You’ll have to continuously wash these items for up to a month to ensure you have killed all cycles of the flea.
You can tell fleas have infested your carpet by the small black bits (known as “flea dirt”) they have left behind for their larvae to feed on, or by spotting the fleas themselves. They like to hang out in darker areas of your home. Vacuuming is the best way to get rid of them, as it sucks up not just the adult fleas, but also the younger cycles. You can also use insecticides to finish the job.
Flea infestations are terrible, but it is important to remember not to be discouraged. It can take weeks to fully clear them out of your home! Commitment and repetition will get rid of the eggs, larvae, and pupae that you missed on the first clean of your house and dog. Keep at it, and you’ll be in the clear!