Fleas feed on blood and love to live on the bodies of your pets. The
furry exterior of pets makes an ideal living place for the fleas without
them being detected. Fleas not only suck blood from the pets which can
ultimately lead to anemia but fleas can also transmit diseases that can
be very serious or even fatal. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to
get rid of fleas from your pets before they infest your home or apartment, and your
The first step towards this is to comb pets with a flea comb regularly.
Place a small amount petroleum jelly on the comb, which would result in
the fleas sticking to the tines of the comb. Check for areas between
the toes, behind the ears, armpits and under the neck.
Putting a white paper or white towel under the dog or cat while combing it would make the
fleas more visible. If you notice that black specks are falling off or
getting stuck to the comb tines while combing then you will know for sure
it’s fleas. Dabbing the fleas with alcohol would immobilize them and then
emptying the paper or towel in to a mug containing water will kill most
of the fleas. The mug of water containing fleas should be flushed down
the toilet or sink to prevent them from jumping out if they are
still alive. Giving your pet a bath daily or regularly would rid your pet
of fleas unless the infestation is too large. Fleas cannot live in
water, so bathing your pet is very important. Using a flea shampoo as
directed can also aid in ridding your pet of fleas, however, it is not
recommended to use the flea shampoo on a daily basis.
If you do not want to use chemicals on your pet, there is one solution
that usually works well. Cut six lemons into halves, take a quart of
water, steep a few hours and then strain the liquid into a spray bottle.
Spritz your pet on the body with the liquid, avoiding the eyes. Other
natural products like neem, cedar, eucalyptus and rosewood can also keep
fleas at bay. However, the efficacy of these natural products is not
very reliable when the flea problem is acute.
If fleas have already infested your pet to an extreme level, then it’s
essential that you take it to a vet. The vet may prescribe Insect
Growth Regulators (IGR) sprays or foggers such as methoprene (Precor) or
pyriproxyfen (Nylar), and insect development inhibitors (IDIs) such as
lufenuron (Program) and prescription only IGR systemic products. These
products are safe, non-toxic and environmentally safe. You may also use
desiccants: Diatomaceous Earth and Boron. Desiccants are considered
effective and inexpensive, and they are recommended.
A single application of Imidacloprid (Advantage) and fipronil
(Front-Line) can kill adult fleas in hours and keep your pet flea free for 1-3
months. A few drops of the formula applied to the shoulder of the pet
spreads through the coat and kills fleas. These products have lower
mammalian toxicity and are considered safer. ‘Pyrethrum’ based flea killers
are useful for immediate relief from fleas. However, any use of
chemicals on your pets should not be used without the advice of a vet. Cats can
die if insecticide meant for dogs is used on them.