4 Steps for Eliminating Fleas For Good
You’ve seen ads for flea products all over the place, I’m sure. Most of them are just for your pets. The most important aspect of flea control is probably keeping your fuzzy friend comfortable and healthy.
As much as I hate bearing bad news, I think it’s important that you know: it’s not just your pet that needs to keep flea-free. Flea problems can happen seemingly overnight in your home and in your yard as well. It’s enough of a problem that you need a strategy to avoid it.
Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Here’s the 4 steps to eliminate fleas from your life!
Step 1: Treat Your Pet
Of course, I’m starting with the easiest step. There are many different products out there that help with fleas on your animal(s), and it’s very important that you get a product that will work well for your money.
Out of the many products out there, we find that for the sheer number of fleas that our climate can produce, you’ll need a couple of things to handle them effectively.
- An already flea-infested animal should be flea-dipped. We recommend Adams Flea Dip for this process. It’s been around for many years, is safe for cats and dogs, has a strong but pleasant fragrance, and is effective at taking out the majority of fleas. Make sure that there are no open sores on your pet or you’ll cause unnecessary discomfort – depending on the severity you may need to see a veterinarian. We have one that comes to the store every 2 weeks (see our Event calendar on Facebook here).
- If you see one or two fleas on your pet or noticed one jumped on you when you were getting snuggles, a topical “on-the-skin” flea medication should be very effective. These are applied behind the head and between the shoulder blades, usually monthly, and are quite reasonably priced for what they do. Many offer additional protections from ticks, mosquitoes, and biting flies as well. We recommend Advantage or Advantix for over-the-counter control. Your veterinarian may have a prescription topical option for you as well.
- Your pet doesn’t have fleas, but likes to go outside a lot, or is visiting places where other pets might have fleas. Flea prevention is the BEST way to avoid having an issue at all. You can go with the over-the-counter topicals mentioned above, OR you can get a prescription from your veterinarian for an edible flea prevention. Oral medications like Trifexis for dogs work well, and have the additional benefit of protecting your pet from heartworms. Your veterinarian can guide you further on what the best options for your pet are from a prescription standpoint.
Step 2: Treat Your Home
Making sure that your home is flea-free is also important. Fleas can hide anywhere in a house, and eggs can lay dormant for a year or more waiting for the right conditions. Treating your home includes carpet, furniture, mattresses, clothing, curtains, and more. If your pet has been infested with fleas, it’s possible that your home has them as well. Here’s how to make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep fleas from taking over in your home.
- Apply a flea dust in your carpet, furniture upholstery (not leather), mattresses, etc. We recommend Adams Carpet Dust. Following package instructions, leave the dust for a period of time and then vacuum it up. You may need to vacuum twice. Make sure you get all the cracks and crevices, especially on furniture!
- If your home still has fleas after this, you may need to do a flea fogger. This is a chemical that permeates the air and kills pretty much all bugs in the home. You have to vacate the house for a certain amount of time, so make arrangements and take care of it. You can do it! We recommend Enforcer Flea Fogger. I highly recommend you ask an associate the best usage of this product, and follow the package instructions as well – usually you need one can per major open area of the house. I also recommend washing all dishes you use after a fogging, all bedding, and all clothing too. Better safe than sorry!
- Remove beds/blanket/towels or other items that your pet has used for bedding while flea-infested and either wash them in hot water with Borax, or discard them outside the home in a closed trash can.
- Pick up any clutter from your home’s soft surfaces (carpeted floors, sofas, recliners) and remove bedding. Any clothing and bedding that could have come in contact with the dog should be washed on the warmest setting possible. Use Borax as directed on the package in your laundry to help kill fleas and dislodge flea eggs. Use a high temperature drying setting as well if you can.
- Wipe down all hard surfaces thoroughly. Include everything from counters, cabinets, tubs, showers, etc, cleaning the sponge/rag frequently in hot water with cleaning solution (please use gloves!). Wipe down walls and baseboards with a damp, hot towel, rinsing and wringing it out frequently. Scrub floors with a strong cleaning solution like bleach or Pine-Sol and rinse well, or use a steam mop to hot-clean them.
Step 3: Treat Your Yard
Your pet must have gotten fleas from somewhere. If your yard is where they spend most of their time, these hungry fleas are most likely hanging out in your yard. To keep the fleas from traveling back inside, you have to treat your yard too!
Step 4: BE CONSISTENT
This is almost more important than any other step. Because of where we live, this warm weather is an absolute paradise for fleas and other pests. They grow and thrive here, and it’s all we can do to keep them from invading where we live. Consistency means that you have to make and keep a schedule of treatment for your pet, your home, and your yard. Once you have it set, it’s not hard to add it to the chores that we all have to do.
Keeping fleas off of your pet, and out of your home and yard, means that these fleas will not be feeding on you and your loved ones! I hope this article helps you get a handle on any flea issues you might have. Of course if you have questions, stop in and ask our staff, we’re happy to help.
- For dirt areas and landscapes, we recommend Hi-Yield’s Garden, Pet and Livestock Dust. This is an effective overall yard treatment that can be applied to control fleas, ticks, and more.
- If you prefer a spray, we can also recommend Shell’s Natural Cedar Oil. It is all natural and made from cedar, which is well known for its bug repelling capabilities. Applying the oil to your yard also controls fleas, biting flies, and mosquitoes too! And it has a great scent too. Best of all, cedar oil is safe for pollinators when used as directed, and also safe for your pets!
Here’s some articles I’ve written that are available on our website about pests:
Flea Article – has more information about fleas themselves, what we sell to treat for them, and additional helpful tips on flea control in your environment!
Grasshopper treatment FAQ/Nolo Bait™– this is for a different kind of pest, large grasshoppers that eat your prized landscape and garden plants can be treated organically, safe for children, pets, and friendly pollinators too.
Marissa – Writer for Shell's Feed & Garden Supply
I'm an over-educated, passionate, gardening and pet enthusiast, and I have found the perfect job! My writing is based on my studies in Biology and Health, and my experiences from gardening with my family as a child.
The great thing about gardening is that it is a life-long learning process. The many blunders and successes of my own gardening projects over the years have been invaluable to me. The late, great, J.C. Raulston once said, "If you're not killing plants, you're not stretching yourself as a gardener." Learn by doing, gain knowledge from the failures, but more importantly, relish the successes, (because they're delicious!) Thanks for reading!
Special thank you to Abby's Farms, where the photo on the left was taken. Shell's Feed & Garden Supply sponsors the chickens and chicken coops there. Visit their website here.