If you have pets that are not strictly indoor animals, or if you have indoor pets who like to venture outside when your back is turned, then it’s likely that you’ve become acquainted with fleas at some point. While it’s less likely, it’s possible for fleas to enter the home even when your pets don’t leave the house. How to get rid of fleas in the house is invaluable knowledge for pet owners. These little pests are quite persistent and can cause a lot of trouble for you and your furry companions.
What Are Fleas?
Simply put, fleas are parasites. They must feed off of other living creatures to survive. They are small, dark insects that consume the blood of your pets and sometimes you. Their bites can cause skin irritation and itching.
How Do You Spot Fleas?
Sometimes you can have fleas in your home and not even notice. They are small and may blend in with your pet’s fur. The first sign of fleas will most likely be itchy pets. If your animals seem to be scratching more than usual, you should check their fur for signs of fleas. Good places to check are the neck, ears, and base of the tail, as fleas may gather in these areas. Along with live fleas, you may also find small dark specks called “flea dirt” on their skin and fur. This is fecal matter and is a sign that there are fleas feeding on your pet.
Why is it Important To Get Rid of Fleas?
While it may be easy to think of fleas as just an annoyance, there are several reasons why it is important to remove them from your home as soon as possible:
- Fleas cause your pets discomfort. Flea bites are itchy, and when there are a lot of them, it can become unbearable for your pets.
- They can have a negative effect on your pet’s health. Fleas can carry diseases and tapeworms, which can be transferred to your pet or to you and your family. If the infestation is large enough, your pet may also be at risk for anemia.
- They can cause skin problems. When your pet has fleas, they will bite and scratch at different parts of their body to relieve the itching and discomfort. If this happens for an extended period of time, they can develop sores, scaly or irritated skin, and patchy fur. Areas that your pet scratches often can also become infected.
- Some animals have allergic reactions to fleas. In this case, your pet will experience much higher levels of discomfort from flea bites.
- Fleas multiply quickly. If you don’t address the problem early on, you will end up with a high number of fleas in your home in a short amount of time. As the number of fleas grows, you will soon find that your pet is not the only one fighting off fleas.
How To Get Rid of Fleas in the House
If you notice that you have fleas in your home, don’t ignore it. This will only make it more difficult later on, as the fleas will have spread and multiplied. When ridding your home of these pests, it is important to do so thoroughly, or they will return.
Remove Fleas From Your Pet
One of the most important steps in removing fleas from the home is removing them from your pets. This is where fleas thrive. They need blood to survive, so if you have fleas in your home, many of them will find their home in your pet’s fur.
It may be easiest to simply give your pet a bath, but this probably won’t remove all of the fleas. Fleas lay eggs, which may be difficult to spot in your pet’s fur, so you should be sure to remove these as well as the adult fleas to prevent future infestations.
In order to completely rid your pet’s fur of fleas, you should follow a few steps:
- Comb your pet’s fur. Using a flea comb will allow you to remove the eggs from your pet’s fur along with many of the fleas. Keep a cup of soapy water handy to clean the comb as you go. Fleas can’t swim, so they likely won’t survive this process. Make sure to go through each area thoroughly. It might seem like a lot of work, but doing this will make it less likely for fleas to return.
- Bathe your pet. After you’ve removed as much as you can with the comb, the next step is to give your pet a bath using a flea shampoo. There are many kinds of flea shampoos available, and while it may be tempting to just buy the cheapest one, it’s a good idea to choose one that kills both adult fleas and eggs. You might miss some eggs during your combing, and you don’t want to give them a chance to hatch.
- If necessary, use medication. If the flea infestation is a large one and you are having trouble taking care of it yourself, you may want to ask your vet for some help. There are several medications that can kill fleas and their eggs, but these can come with side effects, and your pets might not enjoy taking them, so this might be something to consider after you’ve tried other methods.
Wash Fabric Items
Although fleas will gather on your pet to feed, they will often end up in other places throughout your house as well, especially if the infestation is large. You may find fleas in your clothing, curtains, and bedding. To get rid of fleas in these places, you should wash them in hot water and dry them thoroughly. You can also use a vacuum to clean any curtains you have. If you have fabric pet toys or stuffed animals in your home, be sure to wash these as well.
Vacuum the Floors
If your pet has fleas, you will most likely have them in your carpet as well. A nice, lush carpet is the perfect place for fleas to lay eggs. If a flea does lay eggs in the carpet, you might not notice until it’s too late. But if you don’t have carpet in your home, you’re not necessarily in the clear just yet. Fleas can also lay eggs in cracks in wooden floors, so be sure to vacuum and clean those thoroughly as well.
Fleas can live for up to three months without eating, so if you’re not careful, you can end up with another infestation after you’ve worked so hard to be rid of the first one. Because of this, it’s important to clean anywhere that fleas might lay eggs, even if you haven’t actually seen any fleas in the area.
Use a Spray
In addition to washing any fabric items in your home and vacuuming the floors, using a spray can be a big help. There are many flea sprays on the market that can kill fleas as well as their eggs. Some sprays will also keep fleas from returning by using ingredients that repel them.
When using a flea spray for the home, it is important to read the label thoroughly and follow the directions, as some sprays are not safe to use on furniture, and some may have toxic ingredients that should not be used near pets or children. In this case, you should keep pets and children away from these areas until it is cleared of the substance.
In order to minimize any health risks to pets or people in your home, you may be able to find a spray that is safe for use around animals and humans. Some use natural ingredients that are as effective as the toxic chemicals found in other sprays. Sometimes these sprays can be used on your pets as well as the items in your home, but if you are using a spray on your pet, be sure to use one that is safe for all animals in your home. Some treatments that are safe for dogs can be toxic to cats.
Preventing Future Infestations
There is no sure way to make sure that no fleas ever enter your home, even if your pet does not leave the house. People can bring fleas inside on their clothing, and even those without pets may find themselves with flea troubles. However, regular cleaning of the home and bathing of your pets will keep a few fleas from turning into an infestation. If you do see any fleas in your home or on your pets, be sure to act quickly. Do not ignore it, as this is not a problem that will go away on its own.
Because they multiply quickly and can survive for several months even without feeding, it is easier to prevent a flea infestation than it is to rid your home of one. But there’s no need to worry. As long as you know how to get rid of fleas in the house, you also know how to prevent them from returning.