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 lawn.
The first step towards this is to comb pets with a flea comb regularly. Place a small amount of 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 its fleas. Dabbing the fleas with alcohol would immobilize them and then emptying the paper or towel into 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.