If you have a flea problem, you may dread the idea of trying to defeat these tiny yet annoying pests. It’s not an impossible task. You can successfully eradicate a flea infestation—but it doesn’t happen instantly. It takes a combination of persistence, commitment and proper planning.
Here are the basic steps in a smart flea treatment strategy:
Detection: Of course, the first step in solving a flea problem is realizing you have a problem in the first place. This is usually fairly easy. Generally, your pet will alert you to the problem by their sudden constant scratching. By examining their fur closely, you will probably be able to spot their little insect offenders.
Initial treatment: Upon spotting fleas on their pet, most people want to take immediate action by getting their pet treated with a flea dip or a similar process, or perhaps by using a flea collar or applying a flea treatment product directly to their pet. While this is fine—it can provide your pet with some immediate relief from the itching—it won’t eliminate your problem, at least for the long-term.
Treating home and bedding: It isn’t enough to just eliminate the fleas that are actually on your pet. Many others are likely hiding elsewhere in your home (along with their eggs). You must have a comprehensive plan of attack, because there are many places the fleas could be hiding: pet bedding, furniture, carpeting and linens, among others. Place bedding and clothing in the dryer on the highest setting. Vacuum carpeting thoroughly and then immediately dispose of the vacuum bags. Treat furniture and carpeting with a flea powder or spray. For severe infestations, you may want to consider using flea bombs to treat the entire room or home.
Follow-Up/Repeat treatment: This is the part that many people overlook, but it is critical if you want to solve your flea problem permanently. You must make sure you address any eggs that may have been hiding during your initial treatment. If you fail to do this, you will soon find yourself with a whole new infestation. Repeat the treatment to your home areas within a week or two after your initial treatment. Note: using products with an insect growth regulator during your initial treatment phase will give you a big headstart and will greatly reduce the chances that you will have any surviving eggs or fleas at this point.
Prevention: Once you’ve eliminated your flea problem, you want to prevent it from happening again. Using a flea prevention treatment product on your pet regularly is an easy and effective way to do this. (This treatment can also help protect you pets against ticks, which can spread disease.)