Hopefully you are reading this page, “What to do about fleas” because you want to prevent them, and not because you already have a problem, but if you do already have a problem, don’t worry, I can help. Believe me I know all about fleas.
Lets start with the fact that, yes it is embarrassing, but it doesn’t mean that you are dirty or a bad pet owner because you have a flea problem. Sometimes the flea treatments that have been working will all of a sudden stop working. Apparently fleas can build up an immunity to a certain product. So it is a good idea to change your flea treatments every so often so that this doesn’t happen. Also, sometimes people that don’t even have pets get flea infestations. Fleas are outside and if brought in on your feet they will not take long to infest your home. Keep reading to learn about treatments for your pets, home and yard.
When I discovered that I had a flea problem, I was treating my pets with topical treatments, and giving them flea baths every week. When I vented to the lady at the supply store that flea shampoos weren’t working, explaining to her how many baths that I had given my dogs recently, she informed me that I was going to overdose my dogs with flea shampoo. I did not know that you could do that. She recommended bathing them with Dawn dish liquid. I looked it up and read that it is very common to use as flea shampoo. It killed more fleas than the flea shampoos did. I didn’t dry out their skin like I thought it would. So that is what I use now for shampoo for my dogs.
The first time that I had a problem with fleas, the vet recommended Frontline. It worked great. But after a few years it stopped working. Then I switched to Vectra. That worked great. Then that stopped working. I was infested. I spent so much money on treatments for my pets and my house. I spent 5 weeks straight, trying something different each week to get rid of the fleas in my house.
That was the first time. 2 summers later it happened again!! I went through it all over again, because apparently the fleas became immune to all of the products that I used before. This past summer just before I discovered the Seresto collar, I called the vet and they told me that K9 Advantix was the only topical treatment working for dogs this year, and that Advantage was the only one working for cats. I did use the Advantage for my cats because I will not put a collar on them because they go outside and I don’t want to endanger them with a collar that could prevent them from getting away from a predator. I have tried to keep them inside but it is impossible. The Advantage did work.
The last product that I have started using for my pets is the Seresto Collar. That actually kills the fleas and ticks on them and in their surroundings. It helped to kill the fleas in our home too. The collar is good for 8 months before having to purchase a new one (5 months if you bathe them often). It is cheaper than the topical treatments, and you don’t have to remember to treat them every month.
For the home
One very important part of keeping your home flea free or treating your home for fleas is vacuuming. Just remember though that they can and will get out of your vacuum cleaner if you don’t empty it right away and remove the bag from the house. There is a vacuum that works best for fleas. But it is expensive. The Rainbow vacuum works so well because you don’t have a bag or bin. Before you vacuum, you fill the vacuum with water, so whatever you vacuum goes directly into water, and if you use hot water and a little Dawn dish liquid it would kill them as you are vacuuming.
I tried chemicals and home remedies. The worst home remedy that I tried was scattering salt and baking soda all over my house (floors and furniture). Salt will/can dehydrate the flea eggs, and the baking soda will/can kill the adult fleas. The reason that was so bad for me was because I have a very wet basement, and it did say that if you have a lot of humidity in your house, you would need a dehumidifier. I didn’t realize that the wet basement would make the first floor and 2nd floor turn to liquid. It was a complete mess. It took me days to mop up that wet salt and baking soda. Having to mop every room at least 4 times while changing the water multiple times through out the process. What hadn’t turned to water, I vacuumed up and destroyed my vacuum cleaner. My mattresses and living room furniture didn’t dry for days. I had to stand them up on end and aim the fan at them. Now I have rust stains on my mattresses and box springs. What a mess!! So if you have a lot of humidity in your house, please don’t try this method.
One home remedy that I did try that actually worked really well was diatomaceous earth(FOOD GRADE). But just to warn you, that is a terrible mess too. It didn’t get wet, but 5 months after I used it, I still couldn’t get rid of the dust that still existed in my house. It got in every crack and I could dust every day and the next day everything was all dusty again. It definitely did kill the fleas though, so if you don’t want to use chemicals, this will work. But I left it all over my house for a few days and when I cleaned it up more eggs hatched and I had to spread it all over again. I believe it would have eventually gotten rid of all of the fleas, but I couldn’t take them mess. It was literally like I had dirt all over my house. Our clothes attracted it. It was awful. As terrible as the mess was, I would do it again if needed. Just make sure that if you choose diatomaceous earth, that you get the food grade.
I decided to try mopping my floors and cleaning everything with Dawn dish liquid, as it worked so well on the dogs. That helped a lot. I used very sudsy hot water and mopped leaving the floors pretty wet and very sudsy. You would be amazed at how much that helped. Dawn is definitely an amazing flea killer.
One chemical product that I tried was $20 per can of spray and I needed 4 cans for my house. This was called Mycodex. The vet promised that would work. At first I didn’t see any fleas, but after a few days they were back. Very discouraged and upset after spending that kind of money on something that didn’t help at all, I called the vet and told them that it didn’t work. They told me that my yard must be infested, we must be bringing them back in on our feet, because this stuff really works.
What Finally Worked
So I researched yard treatments. I decided to try Spectracide Triazicide. We bought a lawn seeder with the bags of lawn treatment. My husband used twice the amount that it said to. If you use this, make sure that you read the instructions, because you need to wet it down, but not too much. If you are expecting a lot of rain don’t use it before that because it will wash it away and be a waste of your time and money.
The day after he did that, I treated the house better than I had ever done before. I removed every piece of clothing, linens, pillows everything!! I took everything that could be put in a dryer to the laundry mat and put it all on high heat for 30 minutes. Then I put it in clear bags so that I could see what was in each bag.
I emptied the closets and sprayed them with Spectracide Bug Stop from top to bottom. I tore the beds apart and sprayed them too. I put 18 flea foggers (I used RealKill) in my house (My house is 2000 square feet) (It recommended 12, but I used 18 because 12 didn’t work the first time). Locked it up and left for 5 hours (Not just the 2 and half that it says. That isn’t long enough). Then I came back and aired out the house.
Make sure to remove all pet food and pet dishes before you set off the foggers, also remove any food in the cupboards that isn’t in a sealed plastic or glass container. I also removed coffee filters, paper plates, paper towels and bathroom tissue. I removed my coffee maker also and the toaster because cleaning the inside of those for chemicals isn’t really possible. There are instructions on the foggers about what to remove or cover. Fish tanks have to be covered. Obviously all other pets removed from the home.
I only cleaned dishes and food surface areas, such as counters, table, stove, refrigerator, inside cabinets. Do not clean your walls and floors. Cleaning your walls and floors prevents the chemicals from continuing to kill any eggs that hatch (Of course if you have a child that will play on the floor, you will definitely need to clean your floors) Also make sure that you clean children’s toys, or anything that they may touch.
It finally worked, Our home was flea free!! For 2 years. We treated our yard 3 times this past summer. I believe that because we have used the Spectracide for 3 years in a row, maybe the fleas are building up an immunity to it. So I will be using a different brand of yard treatment this year. I have read good things about Ortho Home Defense. So we will try that this year. I will let you know how it works.
4 months ago, we finally bought the Seresto collars that I talked about earlier. Those are amazing!! My husbands brother and his wife had spent a few days at our house with their dog. She had the Seresto collar. She had quite a few fleas on her when they left, but they didn’t seem worried about it because of her Seresto collar. They called us after they got home (a 5 hour drive) and told us that all of the fleas were dead!! That is the second recommendation that we had gotten for the Seresto collar. The first one was a girl that lives in our town. She told me that she has a tick problem with her dog every year, so they decided to try the Seresto collar and they hadn’t seen a tick on their dog all year. I would strongly recommend that to everyone.
Thank you for reading, and I hope that I have helped you. Please leave any questions or comments on what to do about fleas and ticks below, and I will get back to you.