How to Rid Your House of Pesky Fleas!
My misfortune with fleas
In 2012, I had a severe infestation of fleas. Both of my cats died in September. Although I can't prove it solely from the fleas, I know it contributed to them dying. I can't even recall the first time I saw a flea, as this was the first time I had ever had them. Both of my cats were kept inside, which is another mystery of how we had them so badly. My one cat (Santapaws was an elderly stray with thyroid disease, he was on medication for his illness) had already been weak and the fleas exasperated him. My other cat (Naps was also a stray, I'd put at about 5 yrs old) both of my cats were generally healthy, eating, playing and happy before we got fleas.
I later read that empty homes can house fleas in a dormant state. We had moved in December of 2011 to our current home. The fleas appeared in Spring of 2012. Both of my cats became extremely anemic, and it seemed that no matter what I did to kill the fleas, I just couldn't get rid to them. I lost them both of my babies in September. The 7th I chose to put Santapaws down because he was in need of blood transfusions (yes, he was that sick), and on the 17th Naps died in my arms from what appeared to be a heart attack. Three vets told me he had most likely had an undetected heart condition known as Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.
I'm writing this article to hopefully prevent this from happening to someone else, their family, and most of all, beloved pets. I have both of my cats buried in our back yard and I've been thankful to keep them with us, if only on the property. But I miss them daily and the memories of how they went haunts me. And I hope to prevent this for others.
I vow to never have fleas the way I did before, ever.
Call in a professional?
For my situation, I did call a few local pest control companies. But first I did a little research on how they get rid of fleas.
After my research, it was not necessary for me to pay for professional help.
If you follow my advise, you will not need to get professional help.
The most important thing however, is to follow through on the suggested treatments for a minimum of 3 months!
Things that do not work for Flea Infestations
Save yourself time, money, frustration and potential illness to your pets and family, do not bother with these options for pest control
- Flea Collars-these are inexpensive, but they do not work. They cannot safely prevent or help an animal that is the host of a flea. Flea collars can be dangerous for cats. If they are not put on correctly the animal can snag or hurt itself trying to get the collar off, choke and possibly suffocate. They also have medication on the collar that can be toxic to your cat or dog. A flea collar does have one practical use, but more on that later...
- Flea dips, shampoo, and skin sprays-these are a waste of money and extremely toxic to cats. DO NOT BUY THEM! I cannot stress this enough! I personally think they should be REMOVED from store shelves. This includes, Hartz, Adams, and any knock off or dollar store brand. Also, these chemicals are not interchangeable. What can be used on a dog CANNOT be used on a cat! You can unintentionally kill your pet.
- Household flea bombs-these are toxic as well. Not safe for you or your pet. They can cause respiratory irritation to humans and pets, and skin irritation. They also do not reach hidden corners and crevices of places that fleas like to hide and lay eggs. They distribute unevenly throughout your home, making even square footage coverage useless.
- Generic topical solutions, these are the squeeze tubes you find at a discount store for flea treatment. They don't work, and again they are toxic! There are brands that work which I will mention further on, but one thing you have to keep in mind is that you CANNOT give these to your cats in less than 30 day intervals because these are chemicals and can hurt your pet if they are not given correctly. They can potentially kill your pet.
Have you had a flea infestation before?
Have you ever had a flea battle?
- Amazon.com : Sentry CapGuard Flea Tablets for 2 to 25-Pound Dogs and Cats : Pet Supplies
Amazon.com : Sentry CapGuard Flea Tablets for 2 to 25-Pound Dogs and Cats : Pet Supplies
So what works?
Because of how a fleas life cycle works, it is important to follow these suggestions for a minimum of 90 days. I know that is a pain, believe me, I've been there. But it is imperative to stop their breeding cycle. In some horrific situations this may take longer (such as my sad situation did).
- Once you determine you have a flea infestation, buy these items-Dawn liquid dish soap, a flea comb (if you don't already have one), Advantage Plus (90 day supply minimum), a flea collar, Precor IGR Insect Growth Regulator (easily found on Amazon) as well as a lawn and garden sprayer for application. Also have your vacuum cleaner ready.
- The most important thing to do is treat your animals first! They are the preferred host of a flea and are probably suffering immensely. It is also advisable to follow a flea program during the times of year fleas are active. Spring-Fall.
- Wash your pet gently and calmly with Dawn liquid Dish soap. DAWN only. This soap will suffocate a flea and not harm your pet. Wash around the neck, and follow back through the rest of the pets body as best you can. As you wash your pet the fleas will try to relocate to dry land. Make sure you wash the inside of your pets legs and hind quarters very well. Fleas like to hang out in this location. Do a really good job when rinsing your pet, start again by rinsing their neck and working back. Do not be surprised if the water runs red from your pet. This is a sign of a flea basically drowning, and as it drowns it excretes the blood that is sucked out of your poor animal. It's very important to treat your pet first because all the blood loss can cause Anemia. Another medication to use for extreme situations is Capstar. This medication works to immediately kill fleas on the cats body. Sentry makes a version of Capstar that is very affordable and works safely for cats and dogs. You can buy this on Amazon, see link. Please keep in mind this is a medication and you need to follow it exactly to avoid harm to your pet. Consult your vet.
- Treat your pet with Advantage plus, yes it is a little pricey, but believe me, other stuff will not work and waste your money. Advantage plus is applied to the space between the pets shoulder bones every 30 days. It is absorbed into their skin and will go into their bloodstream. It is also waterproof. When the flea tries to feed on your pet, it will be poisoned and die.
- Wash your cloths, rugs, towels and bedding in the hottest water possible.
- Next, you need to vacuum. Take the flea collar you bought and cut it small enough pieces to fit inside your vacuum cleaner bag or container, you can also use Fossil Shell Flour-food grade, this stuff actually slices the exoskeleton of a flea and kills it. Fossil Shell flour also called Damascus earth can also be sprinkled through your home, and applied directly to your pets fur. This stuff is EXTREMELY SAFE, use as often as possible in place of medications for your pets. If you have a vacuum that is bag-less, you will need to empty it after each use as far from your home as possible. Vacuuming is probably one of the best things in your arsenal against fleas. The vibrations from the cleaner cause flea eggs to hatch, and force fleas to come out of hiding. Vacuum anywhere your pets have been or like to spend time. This includes pet beds, furniture, carpet, everywhere. Vacuum any and all dark crevices in your home, along baseboards, in closets, in cupboards/cabinets, under beds, floor boards air ducts, air vents, ceiling rafters, attics and basements. You will unfortunately need to repeat this thorough act at least 3 times a week for 90 days. Our home is 2640 sq feet, I'd spend on average 2-3 hours vacuuming 3 times a week. It was awful, but it MUST be done.
- Next prepare your Precor solution as directed, remove people and pets from your home. Also contain any food that may be out, and spray this everywhere. All rooms, closets, cupboards, along the floor, and around the exterior perimeter of your house. Lots of furry woodland creatures carry fleas, such as rabbits, squirrels, and deer. When spraying in your house, start in a room and work your way out. You may need to do this 2 times in 90 days, depending on how bad your situation is. This chemical is like bug birth control, and prevents adults from being able to reproduce. It does not kill adults, that is what the other steps will do.
Within 90 days you should have your problem solved. After the first few treatments you may continue to see fleas bouncing about. Even if you only are seeing 1 or 2, you should not stop any of the above steps. Fleas multiply very quickly, so it's very important to continue to follow-through on all steps until you don't see any, not even ONE.
© 2013 Rebecca