Protect Your Pets from Fleas
Video by Michaela Parker
It’s a given. Our beloved pets will attract some unwelcome guests: fleas.
A good management plan is a must because fleas aren’t just a nuisance, they can cause skin allergies in pets and transmit parasites and diseases to our pets.
The best way to ensure you avoid an infestation is to follow an integrated pest management, or IPM, plan. That’s a fancy way to say you should treat your pet, your yard, and your home. Here’s a summary of how to go about it.
Treat the Pet
Treating your pet is the first step in avoiding a flea infestation. There are many different products that control fleas on dogs and cats. Some can be applied topically, and others are given orally. Some of these products will also control other parasites. Some of these products are sold over-the-counter, while others require a veterinarian’s prescription. Your pet’s lifestyle and your preferences will help you decide which products to use. However, always follow the label instructions or consult your veterinarian to be certain you are using the correct product in the correct way. Some products labeled safe for dogs can be deadly to cats.
Treat the House
Only adult fleas bite, but immature fleas can live in carpet and furniture. So, weekly cleaning is essential to control fleas. Wash pet bedding and vacuum all carpets and rugs, paying special attention to areas where pets rest. If you have a heavy flea infestation, you can treat your home with insecticide sprays that you can buy at your local garden center or home improvement store. But you’ll need to choose products that kill both adult and immature fleas. Be sure to read and follow label instructions. Professional pest control companies also can handle this job.
Treat the Yard
You won’t have successful control in the yard unless you control fleas on your pet and all other animals that frequent the yard, including wild animals. Broadcast insecticides are available in spray and granular forms. Heavy infestations may require application to the entire yard, but remember immature fleas will be more concentrated in areas where pets rest. These areas need the most attention.
For more detailed information, about how to control fleas and some of the products available, read Extension publication 2597, “Control Fleas on Your Pet, in Your House, and in Your Yard” and this feature story "Flea control requires treatments for pets, home."
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