Protect Your Pet and Home From Fleas

Protect Your Pet and Home From Fleas

Flea control is a major concern for pet lovers; and keeping your pet and your home free of pests is understandably a main concern.

Whether you live in southern California or New York City, if you have a pet, there is no way to escape fleas completely. However, if you are noticing these pests on your pet or in your home, you need to get them under control as quickly as possible.

Fleas are more than just an inconvenience, but they can also carry parasites such as tapeworms.

Not only that, they multiply very quickly. To put that into perspective, let’s say your dog picks up a critter while at the dog park, within just a week, you could have thousands of them in your home.


Flea Protection 1 - Viktor Forgacs . Canva Photo - Dr. Jeff Werber Veterinarian Blog

The Life Cycle of the Flea

The life cycle of a flea is relatively short compared to many other insects. This critter can pass from egg to larva to pupa then adult within just two to three weeks if the conditions are right.

Once they reach adulthood, dog and cat fleas can survive for up to a year in an ideal situation.

Flea Protection 2 - Charl Durand . Canva Photo - Dr. Jeff Werber Veterinarian Blog

A female will lay her eggs on the host animal.

The eggs are not attached, so they will fall to the ground, where they will stay until they hatch. Hatching can occur anywhere between two and twelve days. The larvae survive by eating their own shed skin and waste from adult fleas.

Once fully grown, the larva spin a cocoon and develops into the pupal stage within five to fourteen days. Upon hatching, adults will lay in wait for a host to pass by, then they will jump aboard.

How to Prevent Fleas

Follow these tips to protect your pets and home from fleas.
  • Troubleshoot Your Yard

The first line of defense for flea control on your pet and in your home is to troubleshoot your yard. Keep grass and bushes clipped to minimize places for them to hide. Avoid tempting feral animals into your yard. Trim back trees that enable critter to get into your attic.

You may also want to consider a yard pest spray.

Flea Protection 3 - Matthew Henry . Canva Photo - Dr. Jeff Werber Veterinarian Blog


  • Prevention is Key

The key to flea control is prevention. Use specialized collars or a monthly flea and tick prevention on your pets to prevent fleas from attaching to their bodies.

When your pet has been outdoors, comb her to reduce the risk of carrying critters inside.

Flea Protection 4 - Atanas Teodosiev . Canva Photo - Dr. Jeff Werber Veterinarian Blog

Keep your Home Flea-free

Keep an eye on certain areas of your home such as pet bedding and toys; wash them regularly in hot water. Vacuum carpets and rugs at least once a week, and daily if you are already seeing flees.

Don’t forget to change your vacuum bag regularly.

Flea Protection 5 - The Creative Exchange . Canva Photo - Dr. Jeff Werber Veterinarian Blog


Treating an Infestation

If fleas do invade your home, you need to treat the situation straight away.

Start by vacuuming all carpets and rugs. Also, vacuum around the baseboards because flees like dark places and will avoid high-traffic areas.

Once you have vacuumed, dispose of the bag immediately so that larvae won’t hatch in it. It’s a good idea to steam or shampoo carpets to kill any leftover fleas and larvae and keep rooms flea-free.

Flea Protection 6 - Andrew Neel . Canva Photo - Dr. Jeff Werber Veterinarian Blog

If the infestation is severe, you may also want to use an insecticide spray on your carpets and soft furnishings after you have cleaned them.

Diatomaceous earth is also a good treatment for fleas. This is a very fine powder made from fossilized marine plankton. You should use only food-grade as this is safe for pets and children.

Sprinkle the dust on rugs and under furniture, but avoid inhaling it, as large quantities may damage your lungs. Diatomaceous earth works by cutting into their hard shells (like razors) and sucking out all the water. Leave it for 24 hours then vacuum.

Flea Protection 7 - Diatomaceous Earth Bag Photo - Dr. Jeff Werber Veterinarian Blog

Fleas are tricky pests to get rid of, so the best method is prevention. Talk to your vet about putting your pet on a flea prevention program. Even so, in the right circumstances, fleas can begin to take over your pets and your home.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by an infestation in your home, contact a professional pest management company and they will help you to regain control and keep your home flea-free.

Visit Dr. Jeff Werber’s Instagram account (@werbs_dvm) to view and submit questions and answers on weekly AMAs – or call and leave a voicemail at 424-835-0576. Your call will be returned posthaste.

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