Flea Treatment and Prevention
Updated: Sep 30
All household pets should be treated every month, all year.
Monthly flea preventative treatment is the most effective way of eliminating fleas, and luckily the easiest. But many people do not treat long enough and fleas reappear like they never left. Pets must be treated for at least 3 months to eliminate all stages of the flea life cycle. One treatment will reduce the population temporarily by killing adult fleas, but adults make up only 5% of the infestation.
When your pet is treated with an oral or topical flea preventive, adult fleas will die when they bite your pet. Yet once all the adult fleas are dead, your problem is not over: eggs that were already on your pet and in your house will hatch and become pupae, which can wait 90 days for the proper conditions to hatch. That means if you treat your pet in May, the pupae can hatch in August and the flea life cycle will start all over again. Ergo, you must treat your pet for at least 3 months to kill an existing population and continue treatment all year to make sure they can't return.
If your pet and your family are being bitten now, you will absolutely not want to wait a full three months to reduce the flea population in your house. After giving your pet their flea preventive (oral or topical), you can set about removing as many eggs/larvae and pupae from your house as you can with these methods:
remove topsoil from your plants
thoroughly vacuum all rugs, carpets, and entry mats - steam cleaning is better than vacuuming but not mandatory. Empty the vacuum outside!
clean furniture, drapes/curtains and bedding. Wash what you can on a warm or hot cycle and dry on a hot cycle in the dryer.
Bathing your pet in flea shampoo will help, but make sure you only do so 3 days before or 3 days after applying topical flea preventives, which need the oils in your pet's skin to spread. Repeat baths are not necessary and can make flea preventive treatments less effective.
My pet never goes outside. Do I still need to treat them for fleas? Yes. Wildlife and stray animals drop flea eggs as they roam which can be brought into your house on your shoes.
I treated my pet once, why does it still have fleas? When you give preventives, you kill adult fleas. No treatment can kill the pupae stage, which can wait months to hatch.
Do I need to treat for fleas in the winter? Yes. In our area, the weather is perfect for fleas all year.
Is there a natural product, like garlic, that kills fleas? No. Garlic is not a parasiticide (parasite killer). In fact, it is toxic to dogs and cats if ingested.
Should I treat my front yard for fleas? You can treat your yard if the problem has not been reduced by cleaning your home and treating your pet with flea preventative. You will need to call an exterminator to help you, and make sure to tell them you have pets! Not all methods used by exterminators are safe for pets.
Which products do you recommend at Media City? We recommend Simparica Trio for dogs, which is an oral monthly flea, tick and heartworm preventive, and Revolution Plus for cats, which is a topical monthly ointment for fleas, ticks and heartworm.