All pet owners with furry companions have faced the problem at least once: fleas. The majority of them agree that fleas are the most common and one of the most annoying pet-related challenges to deal with. No dog, cat, rabbit or guinea pig is safe from fleas. What’s more, each stray animal on the streets carries the potential for a flea infestation.
However, fleas are hardly a reason to despair. While many experts would advise you to take care of a flea infestation by using chemicals, there is a variety of less harmful and more humane ways to handle the problem. Below, you’ll find some of the simplest and most effective methods to get rid of fleas, recommended by pest control specialists from Fantastic Pest Control.
Give Your Pet A Bath
The simplest way to get rid of fleas is to treat the problem at its source – your pet’s fur. Giving your pet a proper bath is the first step towards getting rid of them. However, more than a simple rinse with water will be required. You’ll need to choose the shampoo carefully. Make sure it doesn’t have any chemicals that can harm your pet, such as pyrethrins, d-limonene and carbaryl. Natural ingredients are just as effective as any insecticide. The best-known remedies include rosemary oil, eucalyptus oil and citrus oil. However, remember that cedar and tea tree oil are only recommended for dogs because they are toxic to cats.
When bathing your pet, start from the neck and continuously go upward towards the head. Fleas typically search for dry and hard-to-reach spots when they’re threatened by water, so it’s best to start from the upper part of your pet’s body.
Clean Your Home Thoroughly
A nice, long bath will help you get rid of the fleas in your pet’s coat. However, they may still be living on furniture your pet has come in contact with. Thoroughly cleaning and washing furniture pieces is a must when treating your home and pet for fleas to expel them for good-. Clean your pet’s bedding, couches, armchairs and any carpets or rugs.
When cleaning your home from fleas, vacuuming is essential. A study at the University of California proved that vacuuming successfully eliminates 96% of adult fleas. However, vacuuming does more than that. It also helps dislodge any eggs and larvae from carpets and bedding and stimulates emerging adult fleas to come out of their cocoons. Once you’re done cleaning, carefully seal your vacuum bag into a plastic waste bag before disposing of it. Otherwise, you run the risk of the fleas returning.
When treating your home for fleas, it’s also a good idea to continuously spray the carpeting with either methoprene or pyriproxyfen, both of which are insect growth regulators.
Getting rid of fleas in all stages of life in carpets and upholstery, including pet beds, is most effective when using a combination of high heat and soap. Use a steam cleaner on them and pay particular attention to areas where your pet lies and spends a lot of time.
Wash All Bedding and Clothes at High Temperatures
Washing all bedding, including your pet’s, in hot water and detergent is one of the most effective ways to eliminate fleas. It’s essential to do it while you treat the rest of your home and pet for these pests. A more severe infestation may require getting rid of the bedding and getting a new one.
Use Flea-Killing Products
These aren’t the harsh chemicals you see advertisements for. Flea-killing products are collars or simple treatments. They’re known to do wonders for both cats and dogs. However, they only prevent flea larvae from maturing into adult fleas. To take care of adult fleas, get a prescription for a more suitable treatment from a vet.
Use A Flea Comb
A great pesticide-free product is the flea comb. The fine-toothed comb can quickly help eliminate fleas, regardless of how long or thick your pet’s fur is. The best place to use it in the bathroom. Keep a container full of soapy water nearby and dip the comb into it after each run of your pet’s coat. This way, you’ll be able to drown the fleas and won’t risk them jumping back on your pet.
There is a variety of different traps which can capture fleas and eliminate infestations. The most common kind consists of an incandescent light bulb that attracts fleas. They get captured on sticky paper placed beneath the bulb. A homemade alternative to the flea trap replaces the sticky paper with a small petri dish full of a substance made of water and a dishwashing detergent. Regardless of which one you decide to use, set it up before going to bed and keep using it until there are no more fleas stuck to the tape or in the water the following morning.
Even if your home is entirely flea-free, they can still live and thrive in your yard. The easiest way to ensure they stay out of your outdoor living space is to use nematodes, also known as roundworms. These tiny creatures offer a form of biological control and feed on a variety of small insects, including fleas. You’ll only need to lightly spray the soil with water every few days because they require moisture to stay alive.
You can also use a few other completely natural solutions to fight fleas. Some of them include the following:
- Spraying your pet’s coat with a citrus spray;
- Use herbs, such as rosemary, combined with water to wash your pet thoroughly;
- Carefully rub yeast on your pet’s skin;
- Apply salt to the surface of your carpets and rugs. Let it sit there for a week and vacuum it thoroughly;
- Apply diatomaceous earth (an organic, affordable powder) to your carpets or the soil in your yard. Wait a day or two before you thoroughly vacuum the area.
The Bottom Line
If you need to fight a flea infestation and don’t want to use toxic solutions, the above methods will do an effective job. They won’t have a negative effect on your or your pet’s health. The crucial thing to remember is to treat your home, yard and pet simultaneously. This combination approach will work best to eliminate a flea infestation and prevent their return in the future.