In many states, fleas are a year-round problem. But these parasites are at their worst in the hot summer months particularly in the humid parts of the country.
News flash. Fleas only spend 20 percent of their time on pets and the rest of the time in your home! The best way to see if they have infested your carpets, bedding and upholstery is to put on a pair of white pants and white socks and walk around. And, if little dark “spots” jump on and off your legs, you know you’ve got fleas.
As far as both cats and dogs are concerned, prevention is key. Ensure pets are being treated with a product that kills flea eggs as well as adult fleas. If you are using an over-the-counter medication, read labels carefully to ensure the product is suitable for both the weight and age of your dog. Certain products are not suitable for very young puppies. Similarly, never use a flea medication prescribed for cats on a dog and vice versa.
At the first sign of fleas, or flea droppings, wash all pet bedding along with any harnesses and doggie jackets and t-shirts in a hot wash. All bed linen should be stripped down and laundered. And get to work with the vacuum using crevice tools to get into every nook and cranny.
The latest self-cleaning vacuums that can be “trained” to move constantly around your home can do more than just vacuum. Some product models can mop and sanitize as well and have special HEPA filters to help keep a home flea-free. There are also standard vacuum cleaners with UV lights that will kill flea eggs.
Serious infestations of the home may require vacating the home so the interior can be professionally sprayed. This means finding a safe place for your pets during that time. And, it’s equally important to spray your outdoor areas and lawn to prevent your dog (and you) from bringing them indoors. A nicotine-based natural insecticide such as Imidacloprid is suggested for dogs that like to chew on grass. If your dog is a regular passenger in your car, you may have to have your vehicle specially detailed too.
Finally, if you are moving, it’s wise to find out if any animals were previously in occupation of your new home because fleas can hatch in the weeks after the previous pet inhabitants have vacated. It would be a good idea to steam clean carpets thoroughly before move-in day.