It’s time for pumpkins, falling leaves, scarves and sweaters. Everyone is getting ready to tuck in for another New Hampshire winter.
Unfortunately, “everyone” includes the fleas. The mild winters we’ve been having have really helped the flea population explode, and the majority of pets we’re seeing in the office have fleas.
Fleas can happen to anyone. A flea infestation doesn’t mean your home or your pet is dirty. They’re so bad this year we’re getting a lot of calls from people who have never had flea problems before.
These little pests are very invasive and can be challenging to get rid of, but it just takes a little perseverance.
We recommend treating for fleas with a topical flea and tick product such as Frontline Plus or Advantage for cats, or Frontline Plus or Advantix for dogs. We understand that there are a lot of other brands available over the counter that are less expensive, but frankly you get what you pay for and we’ve had reports of brands like Sargent’s and Hartz ranging from “they just don’t work” to seeing terrible reactions ranging from sores at the application site to seizures and serious illness. Dips, baths and collars are also not recommended.
The products available here at the office are guaranteed to work by their manufacturer when purchased here. They stand behind their products and will work with you to solve problems or even refund your money if you’re not satisfied.
One thing to understand about fleas is that their life cycle is about 3 months long from egg to grown adult. One application of medication may take care of current adults, but eggs that have been laid in the home will hatch out later and create new adults that must also be dealt with. Therefore, every pet in the household must be treated for a minimum of 3 months.
Now for the flea eradicating plan of attack –
Step 1: Pick up a safe, effective topical flea medication such as Frontline for each pet in the house, as well as a premise spray with an insect growth regulator to use on carpets and upholstery (we have one available here at the office).
Step 2: Carefully apply the topical medication – correct application is absolutely crucial – the hair on the pet must be parted so that the medication goes directly onto the skin. Sometimes it helps to have 2 people – one to part the hair and the other to carefully apply the medication. Remember that all pets in the home must be treated. Because these products depend on the oils in your pet’s skin to help them spread over the body, it is important that pets not be bathed for 2 days before or after application.
Step 3: Vacuum everything that can be vacuumed and hot water wash anything that can be hot water washed. If you have a bag vacuum, throw the bag out (outside) right away, and if it’s a canister clean it well. Apply premise spray to carpets and upholstery. What the premise spray does is kill adult fleas, hatching eggs and larvae around the home, and it also has a growth regulator that helps prevent eggs from hatching.
Step 4: Mark the calendar so you remember to apply topical treatment to each pet in the house for at least 2 more months. If pets go outdoors, we recommend continued monthly flea prevention to prevent further infestations.