It’s been on the news and I’ve heard it from clients: fleas have really been bad this season. I’m trying to track what remedies are working for my clients.
My conclusion? Nobody knows what works. For some dog and cat owners, monthly applications of Advantage are effective in getting rid of fleas, but other pet owners swear by Frontline. And some people say that remedies that used to work no longer do.
What’s the deal?
More fleas, more trouble
Dr. Julie Meadows a vet with UC Davis has said that pet owners are complaining that flea treatment products are no longer working. But she doesn’t think there’s any problem with the treatments—there are simply more fleas around this year, possibly due to the higher temperatures.
Many experts say fleas proliferate in right weather conditions—a balance of heat and humidity—which is why they’re around more in the summer, and often all year in SoCal.
So, treat your pets by bathing and brushing them regularly, and by properly using a product that has been effective.
Avoid an infestation
Even if you faithfully treat your pets for fleas you’ve also got to rid your house of them, in all their stages.
A flea begins as an egg, then becomes a larva, then pupa from which it emerges as an adult flea.
Fleas can multiply rapidly (I’ve read that the female flea can produce 20 eggs or more per day). And the larvae can live deep in carpeting or furniture, then suddenly emerge as fleas when the weather conditions are right. That’s why suddenly fleas can seem to be everywhere—on your floor, furniture and even your bed.
To avoid this, experts recommend vacuuming carpets regularly (and throw out the vacuum bag after use), washing pet beds and having your furniture cleaned.
And understand that fleas can be brought into your house or yard by a stray cat or a visiting pet. This is why flea control requires pretty much everyday attention.
If you do get an infestation, consider hiring an exterminator. Ask your vet for her or his suggestions too.
What kinds of flea control do you use with your pets? Which ones are working? Let us know!
Tips for Using Flea and Tick Products
Ann Stohlman, V.M.D., a veterinarian in the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine says this on their website: “You need to take the time to carefully read the label, the package insert, and any accompanying literature to make sure you’re using the product correctly.”
Read the label carefully before use. If you don’t understand the wording, ask your veterinarian or call the manufacturer. “Even if you’ve used the product many times before,” says Stohlman, “read the label because the directions or warnings may have changed.”
Follow the directions exactly. If the product is for dogs, don’t use it on cats or other pets. If the label says use weekly, don’t use it daily. If the product is for the house or yard, don’t put it directly on your pet.
Keep multiple pets separated after applying a product until it dries to prevent one animal from grooming another and ingesting a drug or pesticide.
Talk to your veterinarian before using a product on weak, old, medicated, sick, pregnant, or nursing pets, or on pets that have previously shown signs of sensitivity to flea or tick products.
Monitor your pet for side effects after applying the product, particularly when using the product on your pet for the first time.
If your pet experiences a bad reaction from a spot-on product, immediately bathe the pet with mild soap, rinse with large amounts of water, and call your veterinarian.
Call your veterinarian if your pet shows symptoms of illness after using a product. Symptoms of poisoning include poor appetite, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive salivation.
Do not apply a product to kittens or puppies unless the label specifically allows this treatment. Use flea combs to pick up fleas, flea eggs, and ticks on puppies and kittens that are too young for flea and tick products.
Wash your hands immediately with soap and water after applying a product, or use protective gloves while applying.
Store products away from food and out of children’s reach.
Source: FDA and CDC