How to Get Rid of Fleas?
How embarrassing. Your pet has fleas. Never fear, we won’t judge you. Fleas are the most common problem we see in dogs and cats.
Fleas are quite happy to sneak into our homes on clothing, feet, shoes, other pets/visitors, etc., so even strictly-indoor animals can get fleas. Of course, animals going outdoors are at the highest risk for contracting fleas.
There are several angles one needs to utilize to solve this problem. The issue is that fleas on the pet are only 5% of the population; the other 95% are in the form of eggs, larvae (caterpillar), and pupae (cocoon) in the environment. So not only do you need to treat your dog or cat, you may also need treat your home and yard with heavy infestations.
Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts if you mean business getting rid of fleas. Once you have decided to declare war on fleas, it will take at least 3 to 4 months of continued treatment of your pet to completely rid the house of fleas. Stick with it and eventually they will be gone.
Vacuum: corners, dark crevices, under furniture, beds, pet beds, rugs, skirting/baseboards. You are vacuuming up EGGS, LARVAE and PUPAE. Pupae are impervious to insecticides, chemicals, drying and freezing because of their heavy cocoon.
Note: Vibrations, body warmth and CO2 (expired air) present all at the same time stimulate the fleas to emerge from their cocoons and jump on the closest live animal (or you!) immediately.
Spray house and yard: We recommend an insect growth regulator (IGR) spray or bomb, used as directed on the bottle. IGR is like birth control for fleas- it stops eggs and larvae from maturing into adults. Of course, make sure you and the pets (especially birds, reptiles, fish) leave the area while using these sprays. Remember to spray under beds, couches, chairs, other furniture, too. Don’t vacuum for 2 weeks after this.
Note: because pupae are impervious to insecticides, they can hatch 2 weeks later so you might find more fleas then. In that case, repeat the vacuuming and IGR treatment as described above.
Spray your yard: where your pet sleeps outside, gravel, sandy areas, under the house if it is set up high, patios, verandahs, kennels, and any dark places (larvae avoid light).
Wash: all the bedding in HOT water. If you can, wash all dog beds, throw rugs, blankets and bedding which your pet often lies on.
Once you have broken the flea life cycle you will NOT have to spray on a regular basis; once the fleas have gone away you can refrain from using any more insecticide sprays in your home and environment. However, you will need to continue treating your pets year around.
Apply/give topical or oral flea control, monthly or as the package is labeled. For example: Nexgard tablets, Advantage topical, Seresto collars, or Trifexis tablets. See us for high quality products that work – many of the other products just aren’t effective anymore. You need to treat all dog and cat pets at the same time; otherwise, they could be sharing them back and forth.
VISITORS: Politely ask guests who have pets not to let their pet visit unless they have flea control medication administered within the past 2 weeks. One visit by a flea-infested dog or cat can start the flea cycle all over again.
MOVING: If you move to a new home where the previous occupants have had pets, or you are not sure, be safe. 1) Have the house deep cleaned including vacuuming as above, and spray BEFORE you move in. 2) Make sure your pets have fresh flea control administered before moving in, at least 48 hrs in advance. You want to remove them from the environment before you move in so they don’t have a chance to jump on your pets…or you!
Getting your pet microchipped is simply THE most effective way to make sure that they return home if you are ever separated. Identification tags can be lost, or removed, but a microchip is permanently implanted under your pet’s skin and will always be with them. Veterinary clinics, shelters, and animal control services have scanners that can read an individual identification number in the chip, and the microchip manufacturer is then contacted to look up the owner’s contact information registered to that microchip. Animal control services will always scan a found animal for a microchip, which will shorten your pet’s stay in a shelter if they are ever picked up. Good Samaritans who find a pet will often bring them to a vet clinic to get scanned for a chip, which can prevent your pet from ever ending up in a shelter! We recommend that even indoor-only pets get microchipped, because you can never predict when they might escape; unexpected escapes often occur when pets are frightened, when you are out of town and someone new is caring for them, or during moves.
The biggest pitfall encountered in utilizing microchip technology is when the owner has not registered the microchip appropriately, or has not updated their contact information. It is very important that as soon as your pet is microchipped you contact the microchip company (their information will be provided in a pamphlet at the time of microchipping), and provide them with your contact information. There are a small handful of microchip manufacturers currently available, so keep your pet’s microchip information on file so you know whom to call if your contact information changes. There be a minimal fee associated with maintaining a registration with the microchip company, and this fee varies slightly between companies. The microchip we use at Town and Country (Petlink microchip) doesn’t have any fees to maintain the registration.
The process of putting in a microchip is fast, safe, and minimally painful. We highly recommend that you get all of your pet’s microchipped.
More than just a vet, Portland Oregon's Town and Country Animal Hospital is your animal's second family.