Whatever method you use to get rid of these pesky, potentially harmful insects, make sure it is specific to the animal you are trying to treat. Depending on the level of infestation, you may need to thoroughly clean the areas in the house your pet has been hanging around in.
First Treat the Pet
Long coats will need to be trimmed to a 1/2 inch in length. Be careful to gather all the trimmed hair and tie it off securely in a trash bag. We don’t want to spread these fleas elsewhere! Throw the bag away immediately – good riddance!
Surprisingly, the best way to clean your pets is to give them a thorough scrubbing in a bath using a dish soap like Dawn. Vets use this method, too. One washing isn’t enough though. Get the bathtub or sink ready – fill it with warm water and enough soap to produce a rich lather. Vigorously scrub your pet although be gentle with smaller animals, kittens, and pups. Drain the bathtub and rinse her off. You will need to repeat this again immediately after. Only use Dawn for the treatment of pests. Following treatment, use a suitable shampoo for your pet.
After you’ve washed your pet, you can towel dry her or use a blow-dryer on the lowest heat setting. Do not get the blow-dryer too close to her; she can be either burned or scared by the noise and heat. Keep moving the dryer around because keeping it focused on one spot can also burn her skin. Once she is thoroughly dried, you can apply flea medication. The medicine is usually in the form of a liquid but there are tablets and capsules available as well. Some liquids are applied to the back of the neck or by the tail on a cat or dog. For small animals such as rodents the liquid is in the form of a spray. Follow the directions on the package as some may need to be repeated in monthly intervals.
Treat Your House
If you have a lot of carpeting, you’ll be in for more housework than normal. Sprinkle your carpet with a flea-killing powder made for these mishaps. Vacuuming your carpets is a must. Throw away the filter and collection bag immediately, wrapping it in a bag securely tied off to prevent the fleas from escaping. Vacuum the same areas at least twice, disposing of the filter and collection bag (or emptying the bin) again. Hopefully, you have no carpeting in your home; this makes for much easier cleanups when you have pets.
Steam clean the hard-floor areas with the disinfectant of your choice. If you don’t have a steam-cleaner, rent or borrow one! Many home improvement stores carry steam-cleaners to rent, charging by the day.
While you are cleaning your floors simultaneously take care of the laundry. Throw clothes, bedding, and other household linens in the wash paying close attention to those items that your fur-baby loves to lay on. If you have a hamster, rodent, or bird, clean every nook and cranny of the cage.
Upholstery poses a problem especially if you can’t wash it. The next best thing is to spray everything down with a flea-killer made for indoors. In any case, you’ll need to use the flea-spray after you’ve cleaned your house from wall to wall (after reading the instructions for use). Some recommend gathering upholstery, tying it off in a large, black plastic garbage bag, and placing it in the sunlight, where the heat and lack of oxygen will kill off fleas and eggs.
Lucky for Us…
Fleas don’t survive well without a host even in carpet fibers. While we don’t want our pets picking up stray fleas or eggs that escaped our attention, finding one flea on your throw-pillow isn’t necessarily a cause for going through this entire process again. The best thing to do is to keep an eye on your pet regularly inspecting her skin and hair. Give her a regular flea bath and administer flea medication as often as is recommended. Try not to take her into outdoor areas known to be infested with fleas – however, using the medication is a fail-safe that will allow you to walk her without fear of catching more hitchhiking insects.
By Gabrielle Allemeier
About the Author
Gabrielle Allemeier volunteers her free time as an animal rescuer and foster pet parent. As an animal lover, she enjoys sharing the knowledge she has gained from her experience with a variety of animals. Along with being an animal lover, Gabrielle is a globetrotter. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her terrier, Thisbe.