Why does my pet still have fleas?
So you treated your pet with a recommended product and yet, you still see fleas on your pet. Most people expect that if they treat their pet for fleas that they won’t ever see another flea. Sadly, this level of flea control is impossible to deliver but don’t give up hope because with persistence you will be able to break the flea life cycle and eradicate the fleas! While adult fleas live on the animal; eggs, larvae and pupae are found in the environment therefore to effectively break the flea life cycle both the animal and the environment must be treated. In effect, today’s fleas were last month’s flea eggs!
How can I tell if my flea medication is working?
Be aware that all the flea adulticide products are contact insecticides so the fleas have to be on the pet for some time to pick up enough chemical to be killed. To be sure that the topical flea medications are working appropriately you can perform a control study.
- Apply the topical to your pet according to the exact directions on the product insert.
- Take your pet from its existing environment and leave it in the bathroom, or other area where the pet frequently does not go (rooms with tile are best) and leave them there for 24 hours.
- Check your pet. The fleas on your pet should be dead, and since the bathroom is hopefully a flea free area there has been no reinfestation.
- Now let your pet have free run of the house for 6 – 12 hours.
- Use a flea comb to thoroughly check your pet, focusing on the stomach, over the hips and around the tail. If fleas are noted, this reinfestation is the reason that you continue to see fleas on your pet after they are treated.
What is the most effective way to break the flea life cycle?
Step 1: Kill the adult fleas on all of your pets
- All pets must be treated with an appropriate flea adulticide (Frontline Plus, Certifect, Vectra 3D, or Revolution) every 30 days.
- Apply Ovitrol Plus spray every 7 days. (For Dogs Only)
- Apply Frontline spray every 21 days.
- For flea allergic pets, halve the interval for the above products or use Capstar tablets every 48 hours as required.
Step 2: Remove flea eggs and pre-emerged adult fleas from inside the house
- Daily vacuuming is the most effective way to reduce immature flea populations in the house. Vacuuming removes 40-80% of flea eggs and up to 90% of pre-emerged fleas. Focus on areas near and under beds, furniture and skirting boards.
o If you have a bagless vacuum, immediately after vacuuming pour the contents of the collection area into a bag and take it to an outdoor garbage receptacle.
o If you have a bagged vacuum, immediately after vacuuming remove the bag and take it to an outdoor garbage receptacle.
- Frequently vacuum cars, kennels, and beds as these can become common harbors for flea populations.
- Sodium Polyborate powder can be applied to the indoor environment. Larvae ingest the powder and this arrests the life cycle. The product can persist in the carpet for up to a year and is as “safe as salt”.
Step 3: Treat the environment
o Spray Siphotrol Plus in the home monthly to kill adult fleas and larvae. This will also stop hatching eggs from developing into adult fleas.
o Foggers and bombs can also be used within the home to interfere with the flea life cycle.
o Garden beds should be kept tidy and free of debris.
o A plethora of flea yard treatments are available at your local stores. Most of these pesticides kill adults, eggs and larvae.
o Pool salt can be applied to any area under the house to reduce eggs and larvae viability, just make sure that it doesn’t wash in to your garden.
Step 4: Prevent access to high risk outdoor areas
- Walk dogs on footpaths, avoiding garden beds, areas with organic debris and heavily shaded areas.
Step 5: Prevent exposure to fleas from other animals
- Visiting cats, dogs, and some rodents can carry flea eggs onto your property – stop these visits.
- When your pet is visiting homes with pets where fleas are present, administer a Capstar tablet to your pets before returning home to your property. This will immediately kill any “hitch hiker” fleas before they contaminate your property with flea eggs.