Fleas are a major grievance of any pet owner, even though we usually think of fleas biting and feeding off of our canine friends. Fleas are actually quite common problems for cats, too, and know that if you have rodent problems in your home or on your property, chances are high that you'll be dealing with fleas soon enough. Even if you don't have pets!
Another thing about fleas: Indoor flea problems usually start with outdoor flea problems. Pets who go play outside often unknowingly bring flea hitchhikers indoors with them. Even your pets who might be "indoor animals" (like cats) can easily get fleas if another pet or a family member brings a traveling flea indoors. Taking your pet to the veterinarian could even end up with fleas hitching a ride back into your home. Yes, you heard right. From the vet's office!
Fleas not only irritate your pets and cause inordinate dog scratching, once they get into your house, but they also lay their eggs in your furniture, rugs, drapes, curtains, carpets, etc. Anywhere else they can access.
Fleas in Your House
Fleas are tiny, parasitic, blood-sucking creatures. They are nearly too small to see with your unaided eye, but if you look closely, you might a flea or two on your dog.
Keep in mind that an indoor flea infestation is not so much about the one or two fleas you might find on your dog (or cat), but the bigger flea problem lies in carpets, drapes, furniture, pet bedding, pet areas, etc. (flea eggs, larvae, and pupae).
What can you do to get rid of fleas in your home? The fleas that are infesting and irritating your dogs (and cats)?
Check Your Dog for Fleas
What do fleas look like? Here are what most adult fleas look like:
- Fleas are tiny, wingless insects (6 legs). They are vertically flat and narrow and adult fleas are usually between 1/10" - 1/5" long.
- Fleas are a dark reddish-brown in color, and have biting mouthparts. After they've indulged in a blood meal, they become a more dark red color (like bed bugs).
- Fleas' hind legs are longer and stronger. This allows them to jump up to two feet into the air, and as much as a full foot forward. They can jump the equivalent of a human being jumping a football field's length upward and a half football field's length forward.
Fleas on Dogs
Adult fleas are known for hopping onto and living on animal hosts (like your dog or cat), where females can lay eggs. Flea eggs happen to be smooth and elliptical in shape; they easily slip off of your dog's skin and out of its fur. These flea eggs either slide off of your pet or they get scratched off and displaced, landing in your carpets, furniture, pet bedding, etc. Flea eggs can also get spread around your yard, where they hatch and develop into flea larvae and pupae. And at some point, they could very well end up in your home.
As adults fleas will continue to feed, live, and reproduce (and they are prolific reproducers!). The more quickly you address a flea infestation, the better chances for success you'll have!
Get Rid of Fleas on Dogs
Prevention always works best at controlling flea problems. If you find fleas on your dog or cat, you can also treat for them and kill fleas that you can. You can also do your best to keep your yard flea-free.
There are tons of effective flea control products on the market. Just remember, if you're treating your pet with shampoos or pet-friendly flea control sprays, you should also be treating areas of your home where fleas (and their eggs, larvae, and pupae) could be living. In other words, if you're treating your pets for fleas and/or ticks, you need to also be treating your home with flea control products. It is pointless to treat one or the other. Talk to your vet about liquids, pills, flea collars, medicated shampoos, etc.
Get Rid of Fleas on Your Property and In Your Home
Preventing Fleas Outdoors
Fleas are usually found in shady, cool areas of your yard near bushes, tall grass, debris, and shrubs. They will hop onto an unsuspecting human or pet if they get the chance. And that's how they get into your home.
Mow your lawn regularly, pull weeds, and trim your shrubbery back at least an inch from the side of your home. Keep mulch and wood piles at least 20 feet away from the side of your home, as well as trash. Keep trash tightly covered. Eliminate lawn clutter like leaves, tree stumps, and tree branches.
If you live in a wooded area, one easy way to keep fleas away is to keep away rodents, raccoons, squirrels, deer, etc. Exclusionary fencing can help keep these unwanted visitors out.
Get Rid of Fleas at Home
If you're managing your own indoor flea treatment, be patient. It could take as long as a week or two weeks. It might even take up to three or four months. It all depends on the size of the infestation, how long you've had a flea problem, and how well you're addressing any flea problems. Follow some basic steps to help you get rid of fleas at home:
- All bedding should be laundered regularly in hot, soapy water, and then run through the dryer on the highest heat level. Including and especially pet bedding.
- Keep floors clean and vacuumed throughout your home. Also vacuum furniture and drapes/curtains regularly. Get rid of vacuum cleaner bags in a well-sealed trash bag, as far away from your home's entrances as possible.
- Continue to treat your dog and other pets at home with a preventive treatment as recommended by your pet's veterinarian. Keep them bathed and groomed regularly.
Even after everything you can do to help get rid of fleas at home, you still might have flea problems at some point. Keep your home clean and tidy, and keep checking/treating your pets for fleas frequently as your vet recommends. Even so, fleas can find their way even into the cleanest of homes and you may need to call in professional help. Call a team you trust, like our Texas pest control experts today at 832.898.0190. Or email us at email@example.com for a free consultation. We can help you get rid of pesky fleas at home so you and your family (and pets, especially) can enjoy life, free of fleas!