If you are having a major flea problem this year, you are not alone. We are seeing astonished pet owners and pets overwhelmed with fleas after the very mild winter.
Here’s what you can do.
IN AND ON YOUR PET
Every dog and every cat needs to be on year-round heartworm preventive, and heartworm preventives for both are available with ingredients for both flea control and heartworm prevention. It’s never been simpler. Revolution and Advantage Multi are approved for both dogs and cats. Dogs have another option, Trifexis.
If your pet already takes a heartworm preventive without flea control, both species can take Comfortis, a chewable tablet that begins killing fleas within twenty minutes and lasts for a month.
For dogs only, there are monthly options that provide both tick and flea control: Simparica and Nexgard. And an every-three-months pill, Bravecto. Cost per month is similar for all three.
No matter what flea control and flea prevention you use on your pet, remember this: It can kill only the fleas that are on your pet! It can’t kill the ones that are in the couch, carpet, pet bed and yard. So, if you are seeing fleas on your pet in the face of proper administration and maintenance of one of the products listed above, you will need to address the fleas in the environment.
IN THE HOUSE
House treatment sprays with an IGR (insect growth regulator) are easy to use and extremely effective. They kill adult fleas, eggs and larvae. Spray on your fabric furniture (test an inconspicuous area first), carpets, rugs and pet beds. Treat every room in the house, even if there are areas pets are not allowed. Repeat treatment in three weeks when the pupa stage hatches out. If your infestation is severe, repeat treatment monthly for three months, then every three months year-round (readers in cold climates may be able to treat less often). If your infestation is mild, simply treat every three months after the initial two treatments. Our favorite is Mycodex Environmental Spray, and Siphotrol Plus is also a good product. Both contain an IGR.
Foggers are a waste of your time and money, despite what TV would have you believe.
IN THE YARD
If you need a quick kill of adult fleas in the yard, use a spray product with a permethrin active ingredient. Keep pets off the yard until it is dry.
Granular products have the longest duration in the yard. Treat the largest area you can afford. If you can’t treat your entire yard, create what I call a “DMZ,” encircling your entire house so that a flea must cross the treated area on his way to your home. Either of the following products will last three or more months, properly applied.
- Bayer Advanced Triple Action Ant Killer Granules, or,
- Ortho Bug-B-Gone
If you are still having difficulties consult with your pet’s doctor for specific advice.