Fleas are a major nuisance. They irritate your cat or dog, they can infest humans and other animals, and they pose health risks. Flea bites transmit tapeworms and cause flea allergy dermatitis, one of the most common allergies in pets. They also cause hair loss and pets may develop secondary irritation or infections from excessive scratching. Because fleas feed on blood, anemia sometimes results from large infestations, especially on young and small animals.
Certain steps help prevent flea infestations before they occur. Not all infestations can be prevented, though. When they strike, deal with them efficiently and effectively. Below are 10 ways to protect your cat or dog against flea bites.
"Fleas are a nuisance because they irritate your cat or dog, they can infest humans and other animals, and they pose health risks."
Flea Control Tips
1. Strap on a flea collar. Flea collars repel and kill fleas. These products must make contact with your pet’s skin. Make sure you can insert two fingers between the collar and your pet’s neck. Snip off any extra length so your cat or dog doesn’t chew on it.
2. Apply a spot-on product in isolated spots, as directed. The medication spreads over your pet’s body via oil on the skin. Many of these products, including Advantage II, PetArmor, and Frontline Plus, kill and repel fleas for several weeks with a single use.
3. Use a flea dip. Flea dips are concentrated chemicals you dilute with water. They are potent and potentially dangerous, so follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. These are generally not for use on young cats or dogs.
4. Bathe your pet with a medicated shampoo. Shampoos that kill and repel fleas are a cost-effective option for protecting pets. However, they don’t generally last as long as other products, so reapplication may be necessary every week or two.
5. Apply a flea spray or powder. These products are also cost-effective but shorter lasting than other types of flea treatments. Sprays such as Frontline Spray and powdered products require care during application, as the spray and dust are considerable irritants.
6. Give your pet an oral medication. Oral anti-flea medications like Capstar help keep cats and dogs free of flea infestations with once-monthly use. They also don't involve potentially hazardous applications like topical products.
7. Keep your house clean. Regularly vacuum all carpets in the house. During infestations, vacuum daily, getting in all corners and around the baseboards. Dispose of the vacuum bag outside. Vacuum the car, too, even if your pet hasn’t been in it; you may transport fleas there yourself. Clean your cat or dog’s bedding and toys every day in hot, soapy water.
8. Treat your home. Products that eliminate fleas are available for use on carpets, furniture, and other surfaces. Try Fleabusters or an Adams Flea Fogger. Heed package warnings, as environmental treatments are usually hazardous to children and small animals.
9. Lay flea traps. Place sticky pads or another style of flea trap around the house. These work well for dealing with adult fleas, but they don’t eliminate flea eggs and larvae.
10. Manage your yard. Trim trees, shrubbery, and grass regularly to limit breeding grounds for fleas. If fleas are a big problem in your area, consider calling in an exterminator or investing in outdoor pesticides to use yourself.
The above is provided for information purposes only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any condition.
This information does not cover all possible variables, conditions, reactions, or risks relating to any topic, medication, or product and should not
be considered complete. Certain products or medications may have risks and you should always consult your local veterinarian concerning the treatment of
your pet. Any trademarks are the property of their respective owners.