The best defense is a good offense
When it comes to fleas, prevention is your best weapon. Flea season starts when the overnight temperature is higher than freezing—usually in late spring. Fleas thrive in heat and humidity throughout the summer and may be worse in September and October.
How to tell if they’ve already landed
If your pets have been particularly itchy or scratchy lately, do an exam.
Look for fleas to congregate on your pet's head and neck, behind his or her ears, and at the base of the tail. Watch for black specks, too, on your pets' coats and on the floor where your pet has been sitting.
Not sure? Put down a white sheet, place your pet on it, and give him or her a good rub. When he or she walks away, you'll know.
A plethora of products
Lucky for all of us, it's easier than ever to find the right product to help get rid of fleas. From spot-on treatments to sprays and shampoos, you're sure to find a simple solution that works for you and your pets.
Remember that many shampoos don't have the preventive effects that many other products do. And all treatments can be harmful if you overdo or use them incorrectly.
Use as directed
Read product labels and consult with your vet before using each one.
- Intended to be used monthly? Don't use it weekly.
- Designed for the yard? Don't use it in your house.
- Meant to be applied to surfaces? Don't place it on your pet's body.
You get the idea. Using products in ways other than the manufacturer intended can cause harm to you and/or your pets. Watch for side effects that may indicate poisoning and contact your vet if your pets exhibit:
- poor appetite
- vomiting or diarrhea
- excessive salivation
Handle with care
Spot-on treatments are popular because they are so easy and quick to do. But you should always remember a few safety caveats.
- Apply using gloves.
- Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after use.
Even if you've treated for fleas, check your pet often. Those pesky little bloodsuckers can latch on in just one trip outside. Or even ride in on the legs of your trousers, just waiting to hop onto a juicy host.
Comb your pets weekly using a flea comb, just to make sure things are going well. Frequently mow areas of the yard where your pets hang out. Wash pet bedding weekly in hot water. And bathe your pet as directed with products recommended by your vet.
Most of all, keep your pet healthy. Fleas and ticks tend to live on pets with weakened immune systems.
Celebrate being flea free!
Every day without pests is a great day for you and your pet.