If you are having a major flea problem this year, you are not alone.
We are seeing astonished pet owners and overwhelmed pets after a very mild winter.
Here’s what you can do.
In and on your pet
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Every dog and every cat needs to be on year-round heartworm preventive, and heartworm preventives for both are available with ingredients that also control fleas. It’s never been simpler. Revolution and Advantage Multi are approved for both dogs and cats. Dogs have another option, Trifexis.
If your pet is taking a heartworm preventive without flea control, both species can take Comfortis, a chewable tablet that begins killing fleas within 20 minutes and lasts a month.
For dogs only, there are monthly options that provide both tick and flea control: Simparica and Nexgard. And an every-three-months pill, Bravecto. Cost per month is similar for all three.
No matter what flea control and prevention you use on your pet, remember: It can kill only the fleas that are on your pet. It can’t kill fleas in the couch, carpet, pet bed and yard. So if you are seeing fleas on your pet despite proper usage of one of the products above, you will need to kill the fleas in the environment.
In the house
House-treatment sprays with an insect-growth regulator are easy to use and extremely effective. They kill adult fleas, eggs and larvae. Spray on your fabric furniture (test an inconspicuous area first), carpets, rugs and pet beds.
Treat every room in the house, even if there are areas pets are not allowed. Repeat in three weeks when the pupa stage hatches.
If your infestation is severe, repeat monthly for three months, then every three months year-round (readers in cold climates may be able to treat less often).
If your infestation is mild, simply treat every three months after the initial two treatments.
Foggers are a waste of your time and money, despite what TV would have you believe.
In the yard
If you need a quick kill of adult fleas in the yard, use a spray product with a permethrin active ingredient. Keep pets out of the yard until it is dry.
Granular products have the longest duration in the yard.
Treat the largest area you can afford. If you can’t treat your entire yard, create what I call a “DMZ” — encircling your entire house so a flea must cross the treated area on its way to your home. Either of the following products will last three or more months, properly applied.
▪ Bayer Advanced Triple Action Ant Killer Granules
▪ Ortho Bug-B-Gone
If you are still having difficulties, consult with your pet’s doctor for specific advice.
Dr. Jim Randolph, a veterinarian at Animal General Hospital in Long Beach, can be reached at South Mississippi Veterinary Medical Association, 20005 Pineville Road, Long Beach MS 39560. Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.