Can fleas cause health problems for pets and humans?
What are Fleas?
Fleas are small, dark colored, wingless jumping insects that feed on the blood of mammals and birds. They range in size from 1/12 to 1/6 of an inch and can live over a hundred days. Flea larvae are small, transparent worms that feed on organic debris and adult fleas’ feces. Fleas reproduce quickly, laying eggs after one to two days.
Keeping your home and pets free from fleas doesn’t have to be difficult. Try these tips for flea prevention and flea control!
In the Home
- Vacuum Routinely – Vacuuming helps remove flea eggs and larvae. On an every-other-day basis, vacuum any areas where your pet spends a lot of time such as beds and sofas. Remember to empty the vacuum thoroughly after use. Place the vacuum bags in a sealed bag and throw away.
- Launder Your Bedding – Washing your pet’s bedding in hot water kills fleas and their eggs. Keep the temperature of the water above 130°F (54°C), if your washing machine allows.
- Use a Flea Spray – You can make your own or buy a ready-made flea spray for your home. Make sure to completely saturate furniture, carpets, and rugs with the spray.
- Change Your Vacuum Bag – After vacuuming it is important to take caution in disposing of the vacuum bag. It is wise to keep the vacuum bag in a secure area and location away from your pet prior to its disposal. Change the vacuum bag often in order to keep fleas from infesting your house.
- Bathe Your Pet Regularly – Fleas and their eggs can be washed away with regular bathing. Be sure to use a pet shampoo specifically formulated for flea removal.
- Use Flea-Control Products – Flea collars, drops, pills, and topical solutions will help keep fleas away from your pet. Be sure to check the ingredients for safety.
- Consult Your Veterinarian – Speak with your veterinarian about the best flea-control methods for your species of pet. Your vet may advise what flea products are safe and most effective.
Prevent Fleas From Returning
Once you have taken the steps to get rid of fleas, you will want to prevent them from returning. Here are a few actions that can help you keep your home and pet flea-free:
- Keep Pets Away From Other Animals – Preventing contact with a flea-ridden animal can reduce the likelihood of fleas entering your home. Be wary of wild animals, strays, or unfamiliar pets.
- Limit Pet Access to Outside Areas – If your pet has frequent access to garden, grassy, or wooded areas, it may be a good idea to restrict this access. Fleas will often jump onto your pet from these cozy environments.
- Mow Regularly – Mowing your lawn regularly helps keep fleas from laying eggs in it. If necessary, you can also apply a flea insecticide.
Fleas are a nuisance, but can be managed with the right strategies. Following these strategies detailed in Flea Control 101 will help you keep your pet and home flea-free and healthy.