What to Do When Your Pet Has Fleas

brown and white dog rolling around happily in the grass

Springtime brings lovely weather, longer days, and new beginnings. This breezy time of year also brings some annoying pests, including fleas. Prepare for the warmer months by learning how to remove and prevent fleas.

How to Spot Fleas

Fleas can be contracted in frequently visited places like the park, kennels, the groomer, or even your yard. These small dark brown parasites can be hard to spot, especially if your pet has darker fur.

Keep an eye on your pet and take note of any excessive itching or scratching. You may notice scabs on your cat if she has fleas. You can also look for “flea dirt,” or tiny black flea dots. This is flea excrement and is a sign of more parasites on your pet.

Finding an adult flea on your pet can be a sign of a larger flea infestation. Adult fleas produce over 40 eggs a day, which can live on your cat or dog, or in your home. It is important to contact your veterinarian as soon as you suspect your pet has contracted fleas.

How to Remove Fleas

Be sure to remove fleas as soon as possible. You will need to use a flea comb on your pet and then place the fleas and eggs in hot soapy water to kill them. Next, it’s time for a bath. Your veterinarian can recommend the best flea shampoo for your pet.

Remember that fleas can live in your home as well. You’ll need to thoroughly vacuum your entire home, including carpets, mattresses, and upholstery — and throw away the vacuum bag immediately. Luckily, using the hot cycle on your washing machine will kill any fleas on your blankets, bedding, or plush toys.

How to Prevent Fleas

Once the fleas and eggs have been removed, you will need to prevent them from ever coming back. The only way to do this is with year-round preventative medication. Flea preventatives are usually a topical liquid medication applied to your pet’s fur or an oral medication. Talk to your veterinarian to find the right preventative for your pet.

Be sure to only use medication for your specific animal. Dog preventatives should not be given to cats, and vice versa. It is extremely important to ensure you give your pet the proper dosage.

You can also flea-proof your home. Treat your pet’s bedding with flea repellent to help avoid another infestation. Fleas love moisture outside, so avoid overwatering your yard, and keep it free of fleas with moisture-repelling landscaping products. Cedar chips are a natural flea repellent and can be used around pathways to keep these parasites away from your home.

These pesky parasites can be extremely irritating for your pet. They can cause constant itching, infection, or even disease. Luckily, your veterinarian has all the resources you need to keep your pet happy and flea-free.