Fleas can be a problem for even the cleanest of homes and can even pose a health threat to your beloved pup. In certain climates, fleas thrive, which means ensuring prevention is essential to undertake as a pet parent. Fleas prefer warmer temperatures, so the summer months are more likely to see an infestation of fleas – or if you love having the central heating on. Keeping your home safe of the pests will keep your pets happier, as fleas can cause excessive itching and discomfort for any pet!
WHAT ARE FLEAS?
Fleas are tiny insects that live on animals’ skin and feed on the blood of those animals. Their mouths have spikes that can pierce the skin and suck blood and hook themselves onto the animal. While they suck, they are also regurgitating saliva and blood, which can transmit infections and diseases!
Fleas can leap around and between animals that they come across, making them extremely contagious. As they are capable of spreading diseases, this makes the presence of fleas perilous! They can actually jump up to 100 times their own body length.
The pesky parasites can live on pets for up to 100 days, and a female flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day. So, the prevention of a flea infestation is essential, because once it starts, they can spread like wildfire! They tend to be found nestling most often in the head, neck, ears, and feet, so check these parts of your dog’s fur and skin! Keep reading to find out how best to prevent and treat a flea infestation in your home, to keep your pet free from discomfort and potential disease!
HOW TO PREVENT AND MANAGE FLEA INFESTATIONS
1. Vacuum Your House Regularly
You should be vacuuming around the house at least once a week, and especially in the rooms that your dog has access to. It’s one of the best ways to keep a flea infestation away. Be thorough in areas where your dog sleeps, such as their bed or sofas, and also pay attention to carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture and skirting boards.
If you know your area is prone to fleas, it’s worth vacuuming at least twice a week. Once you’ve vacuumed every appropriate area, make sure you empty the bag or container from the vacuum, because fleas can escape them and find somewhere in your house to cozy up again!
2. Wash Bedding and Other Common Areas
Making sure you keep your dog’s bed clean is an important way to keep your pal free of fleas. Vacuuming their bed isn’t always enough to keep the pests at bay. You should regularly wash your pup’s bed and any other areas they tend to sit or lie in, such as certain rugs, blankets or couches, if the cover is easy to remove. Wash these items on a hot wash in the washing machine once or twice a week.
3. Set Up Flea Traps
Flea traps can be bought from some homeware and pet stores. They’re designed to attract fleas, often using light, honey, or water, and then kill the flea as it bounds towards the trap.
They’re useful if you know or suspect there are fleas around, but they do need to be set up in different areas of the room or rooms of your house. These traps are good for killing some fleas, and disrupting the life cycle, but alone they cannot control an infestation, which is why you need to follow the rest of these tips!
4. Try Some Home Ingredients
There are certain ingredients you can put into your dog’s food that are known to repel fleas. Although these won’t help control the flea infestation front on, it will keep your pal comfortable while you do the rest!
The first is brewer’s yeast. You can add some, in powder form, to your dog’s food – it’s more effective if you mix it with some garlic. (Please note that if you have cats in your home too, that garlic is toxic for cats, so don’t do the same for them).
The second is citrus. You can squeeze some fresh lemon or orange onto your dog’s coat, and into their bowl, to discourage fleas from approaching your pet. And don’t worry, it’s completely safe for dogs to lick or eat these fruits if they actually like the taste…
5. Wash Your Dog
Bathing your furry friend is important in many ways, not just for managing flea infestations. In this case, it helps wash away and drown fleas from their body, and also keeps skin and fur in good condition! If you think your home is likely to have fleas, you can find repellent shampoos to wash your dog with.
If your dog has had fleas or is showing a reaction to something else, you can wash them with our very own Itch Relief Shampoo. This shampoo contains anti-inflammatory ingredients that help with pain, moisturize the skin, and boosts the healing process of damaged skin, from the chewing, gnawing, or scratching of itchy areas!
6. Use A Flea Comb
Besides bathing your dog, you should also invest in a flea comb. They’re specially designed to remove fleas from the skin and fur immediately, so it’s a quick and easy way to remove the pesky bugs. After each stroke of the comb, rinse it in hot soapy water, to kill the fleas and get them off the comb, and to avoid putting the flea back into your dog’s fur.
7. Grow Citronella Outside Your House
Citronella is known to be a natural insect repellent. So, if you grow it around the outside of the house, it might just stop them from coming into your home. It’s an effective repellent for fleas, ticks, flies, and mosquitoes.
You can also purchase spray repellents that contain citronella, which you can spray on furniture and carpets, or anywhere prone to fleas, as well as onto your dog. But do check that it’s animal-friendly before spraying on or near your dog.
8. Spread Diatomaceous Earth
This white powder (also known as D.E.) is a naturally occurring substance, coming from sedimentary rock. It is known to be a natural flea repellent, as well as for other pests such as bed bugs, ticks, lice, and slugs, amongst other insects. It contains fossilized algae, which makes it effective for filtration and insect repellence.
Find a natural version of D.E., not one that contains any potential carcinogenic, because it could be damaging to your house, and you and your dog. You should vacuum and wipe the surfaces that you’re going to apply the D.E. to, before applying it. It works well on soft areas such as rugs and carpets.
You don’t want the D.E. directly on your hands, because it is a dehydrator, so the skin on your hands can become very dry. D.E. can also be dangerous to inhale, for anyone! For these reasons, make sure you wear gloves and a mask while applying the powder. Also, keep your dog away from the areas while you do this, for their safety.
When you do apply the D.E., rub it thoroughly into the areas, to make sure it really gets to the fleas. Then, leave it for 2 or 3 days before vacuuming again, to let it do its job. For those of you that live in areas that are prone to fleas year-round, it could be worth doing this once a month!
Fleas are both annoying and dangerous for your dog. They can cause excessive and uncomfortable itching for your pup, which causes them to scratch and gnaws at the itchy areas, leaving skin sore and irritated. Nobody wants their gorgeous pup to be in pain! That’s why you need to ensure your home is safe from the threat of fleas. Taking these steps may seem like a lot of work, but now you know what you can do to help your dog live the happiest and most carefree life possible!