How fleas breed
Fleas breed at an enormous rate! This is why it is so important to get on top of a flea problem sooner rather than later. One adult flea can lay hundreds of eggs which are dropped directly into the environment where your pet lives.
This environment includes everywhere that your animals go within your house and backyard. Therefore, if they sleep inside the house or on your bed, you will most likely have left behind some flea eggs or larvae. These are tiny and barely visible to our naked eye, making it harder for us to detect and easier to ignore!
Perfect breeding areas for fleas Cool dark areas, such as:
- Under the house, verandah or decking
- Sandy backyards or environments
- Carpet, couches, bedding material
If possible, eliminate access to these areas. If this is not possible then we recommend flea bombing or spraying these areas.
What you can do to get rid of them?
Treat the environment
Vacuum as often as possible (ideally every second day if you have an infestation) especially carpets but also tiles and floorboards.
Sweeping is not as effective as it just moves the eggs around. This picks up the eggs, pupae and larvae before they have a chance to hatch into adult fleas and jump back on to your animal.
These can be found at any supermarket. They come in a spray can and are most effective when the whole house, including verandas and kennel areas are sprayed (anywhere your pet goes). Best to do this before you are going out so the house can be shut up for a few hours and also so no fumes are inhaled. A very effective method.
Cleaning bedding (and your bedding if that’s where they sleep!)
We recommend vacuuming the bedding first before washing it in a hot cycle in the washing machine (60C and over). The various flea stages can survive a cold wash! Then hang everything out in the hot sun to thoroughly dry.
The most effective way to remove all stages of the flea cycle is to have all areas accessible by your pets (ideally the whole property) sprayed by a professional fumigator. Take-home fumigation packs are also available at some supermarkets.
You can also treat hard surfaces with hot water (over 60C).
Treat your pet
There are many different products available for flea control. Most require monthly application and are most effective if used year-round. There are monthly tablets/chews that can be given (some are only required to be given every three months).
The benefits of using an oral tick prevention is that it is waterproof. Top spot applications are still available and work by spreading through the oils of the coat, repelling and killing any fleas. Generally, you should avoid any products sold at the supermarket as they tend to be of poor quality, can be unsafe (specially to cats) and don’t control the entire flea life-cycle.
Check with our staff for advice on which product would be the best to suit your individual pet and circumstances.
Washing your pet
Frequent washing actually strips the coat of its natural oils where most flea control products are active, therefore reducing their efficacy. For this reason, it is especially important NOT to wash your pet 24-48 HOURS BEFORE OR AFTER applying spot-on flea products.
Washing should be ideally limited to once a fortnight at the most, with a gentle soap-free shampoo. Flea washes and rinses are especially drying to the coat, and are not necessary if you are using a good flea product mentioned above.
If you are using an oral flea preventative your pet is able to swim and be bathed regularly. However, if you choose to use a spot-on product it will gradually wash off and therefore not be as effective.
Multiple pet households
It is crucial that ALL animals in the household (whether they are in regular contact with one another or not) are treated at the same time, as fleas will continue to breed if one animal is not treated. This includes ALL dogs, cats and rabbits. Strays, wild animals and playmates can also carry fleas into your property, so be aware of this when letting an outside animal into your environment.
Note: It can take up to 3-6 months to completely eliminate all flea stages from your environment. The key is to be persistent, vigilant and patient.
In order to be flea free permanently, your pet(s) will need to be treated all year round – not just in Summer!
Flea eggs can lie dormant for up to 6 months during the colder months which then hatch in their hundreds in the warmer months. Therefore, if your animal is not treated at this time, the infestation starts all over again. Fleas do not always affect humans nor can they live on us. Their #1 hosts are always going to be your dog or cat, so don’t be fooled if you can’t see any on yourself!