Available safe and effective flea medications are Frontline (topical for both cats and dogs), Revolution (topical for both cats and dogs), and Nexgard (oral for dogs only). Capstar, a daily oral product which can be used along with topicals, starts killing fleas within minutes and may be useful to drastically reduce flea numbers when first treating an infestation. Only use one product at a time, unless previously discussed with your veterinarian as safe to use together.
Administer flea prevention to all dogs and cats in the household to avoid “carriers” (animals with no symptoms of fleas but carry and transmit them to other pets in the household). Closely follow directions regarding weight and species. NEVER apply dog products to cats, because this could kill a cat!
Leave a two to three day window before or after any bath or swimming when applying a topical product. Bathing is not a concern when using oral flea meds.
When treating a current infestation of fleas, administer flea prevention once monthly for at least three or four months straight. It can take from 3 to 8 weeks for the flea infestation to be eliminated within the home due to the fact that the house of a flea infested pet will have several immature stages of the flea life cycle present in the carpet, furniture, and outdoors. These will mature to adult form, jump on the pet, and then be eliminated by the product.
One dose of any flea product cannot resolve or prevent flea infestation. Live fleas are only the “tip of the iceberg." The rest of the iceberg consists of all the immature stages that mature and and jump on the pet.
Continued use of a reliable flea product helps prevent recurrence in the future.
Thoroughly vacuum all furniture and flooring surfaces, including under furniture where pets and fleas can hide. Discard the vacuum bag when finished or clean the bag-less container per company directions. Repeat once-twice weekly.
Wash all fabric that comes into contact with the pet (bedding, blankets, clothing left on the floor). Repeat once-twice weekly.
Flea-infected pets (cats and dogs) or wildlife passing through the yard (opossums, raccoons, foxes, and coyotes) are all potential sources of fleas.
A single female adult flea can lay 40 to 50 eggs per day. A flea-infested animal can be thought of as a “salt shaker” depositing eggs everywhere into the environment.
Flea eggs mature into larvae within days. Larvae spin cocoons and become pupae within weeks. Pupae mature into adult fleas in less than a month. All parts of the life cycle are present within the home of the flea-infested animal. This is why it takes at least 3-8 weeks to rid the home of fleas, since many flea treatments kill the adult phase—which prevents reproduction, thus ending the life cycle.