You know what I’m talking about: those little bugs that jump, bite, and use your dog or cat as a host for their breeding grounds. It’s truly disgusting. Unfortunately, flea and tick season is upon us, what with the warm weather and more hours spent outdoors. Fleas thrive in the heat, and are more likely to lay eggs and hatch in hotter temperatures (65°F+). Bleh.
Here’s what they look like: little watermelon seeds that are easily seen on the belly or croup (located on the back, near the tail) of your loved one. Another telltale sign of fleas is the incessant itching. If your pet is constantly itching itself, first check their belly and back for small black specks- ones that move, and even one’s that don't! You are looking for the actual bug or it’s poop, which is another indicator of the pest. Flea poop is incredibly aggravating, because it looks like tiny bits of dirt. If you see one or more of these signs, act immediately! These little critters are trying their best to multiply, and are more than likely hopping on everything you and your pet love- like your awesome carpet and couch!
This is a serious situation (code red), but luckily not the end of the world. Chances are if you tell your friends or family that you have fleas, they will be extremely sympathetic and tell you a story of how they, or someone they know, had fleas. You’ll want to strike while the iron is hot, so these guys don’t have a chance to aggressively reproduce, or worse nest in your home. :(
First things first: if you realize you have fleas (so sorry to hear that), you’ll want to pick up a one-time applicator of a topical flea treatment, something like Advantage II, Frontline, or K9 Advantix II. This should kill the fleas that are currently on your pooch in about two hours, and more importantly prevent future eggs from hatching. This works like a dream. In fact, this stuff is so awesome that I recommend using it once a month, because fleas can remain dormant in your home without you even knowing… hatching later in warm weather and causing you stress and expenses that you were not expecting. It’s pretty much the world’s worst surprise ever.
The next step to rid yourself of these evil creatures is to vacuum everything. EVERYTHING… The carpet, the couch, inside the couch (in extreme situations), the cushions, your bed, your pet’s bed, and anything that has little fibers where the fleas can burrow. If you can throw something in the wash, do it! Fleas hate water, and drown in one cycle. If you can’t throw it in the wash or vacuum it, that’s cool! Grab some handy dandy flea and tick spray for your home. It goes on the carpet and any other area that makes you feel good. Have a ball, spray away!
Your worst-case scenario: you still have fleas. Have you tried everything listed above? The topical applicator, vacuuming, and the spray? Looks like it’s time to throw down. Show these pests who runs your house- You. Grab some mascara. Use it as war paint. Things are about to get real. Go to the store and get a Flea Bomb. It’s actually called a “flea fogger”… but this is War. You need to bomb.
Flea bombing is so simple, and lasts for up to 7 months in your home. Make sure your pup is somewhere safe, out of the bomb’s reach (perhaps a long walk from Newman’s Training LLC…). Then, you simply follow the directions on the canister, and let that bad boy sit in your house for two hours. Come back home, open some windows and doors to air your house out, and wait another two hours. Easy as pie.
Hopefully, you’ll never have to encounter these tiny beasts… but at least now you’ll have some advice for the unfortunate souls you know who are trying to get rid of them.
Thanks for reading! We’d love to hear about your encounters with fleas… feel free to comment below with your advice, questions, or stories.
ALSO, Keep an eye out for next week’s post: Dine With Your Pooch: An Exploration of Dog-Friendly Restaurants in KC
for a good read and information used in this blog: http://pets.petsmart.com/guides/flea-and-ticks/advantage.shtml