Just what is a flea? Wikipedia says there are over 2,000 different species of fleas. But don’t worry...your dog will not have all 2,000 varieties...maybe just 2,000 of the same kind. They say a flea can multiply up to 800 million fleas in just a matter of 5 days, and you wondered why they are so hard to eliminate. You will be glad to know a flea can jump 100 times its height, up to 13 inches.
Makes you itch just to think about it.
When you go into a war you the must know your enemy. The reason fleas are so hard to get rid of is because they have four stages of life. The first stage is the egg, the eggs hatch to become larva, larva turns into pupa and finally the adult stage, where we become aware of them. You must learn how to deal with all four stages of a flea’s life to be able to eliminate them.
Another important bit of information you need to know is the flea can carry the tapeworm. The flea will ingest the tapeworm egg and the dog will ingest the flea allowing the tapeworm to hatch inside the dog.
So, your dog should be checked for tapeworm if you find fleas in your home.
We have found the following 6 steps necessary to completely kick the unwanted boarders from your home...and dog.
Step 1. Throw everything you can find that’s loose into the washer and wash in hot water. Everything means...well everything. Grab the throw rugs, the dog’s bed, couch covers, your bed clothing, if the dog sleeps with you, anything the dog touches and put it in the washer. While you are cleaning you may want to put the dog outside or in a room that does not have carpet.
Step 2. While everything is washing and the dog is out of the way get out the vacuum cleaner. Vacuum everything, not just the carpet, but around the edge of the rooms, under the couch and chair cushions, and along every nook, corner and cranny you can get into. You want to remove as many adults and eggs as you possibly can. Now, work either diatomaceous earth or Borax washing powder into the carpets with a broom. These two powders will help eliminate the other three stages of the flea’s life.
The diatomaceous earth has sharp particles that will pierce the insect’s outer covering allowing them dehydrate and the Borax does something similar by drying out their environment. Work the powder into the carpet and leave for a period of time. Be careful about breathing the dust and vacuum the carpet to remove loose dust. Don’t worry about the sharp particles they are very tiny and are not a threat to humans.
Step 3. Now its Fido’s turn...fix a nice warm bath, get out the mild soap, be sure the soap will not harm the dog’s skin, and catch the dog. Start from the top down on the dog. When the dog gets wet the fleas will head to high ground, the dog’s head. So lather up the head and neck first, being careful to not get soap in his or hers eyes. There are flea soaps available, just be sure to read labels to see there’s no harmful chemicals in the ingredients.
Now you want to keep the fleas off. A lot of dog owners just fasten on a flea collar, but I am a chemical free type person and prefer to keep my dog the same way. There are herbal flea repellants that can help, but using a flea comb regularly is a really good way to go.
Step 4. Let’s head outdoors and check the yard. Fleas can take up residence in your yard too. Look for tall overgrown areas and damp areas of the yard. Use a natural product for treating the yard like the diatomaceous earth we talked about earlier. There are other products for the yard, but again, be sure to read the labels. It is a good idea to clean up the yard and keep the lawn mowed.
Step 5. Do you give you pet a ride in the car? Even if you don’t it may be wise to give the car a good cleaning too. Just for the possibility that you have carried those little varmints into the car on your clothing. Give the car a good vacuuming, including the seats, and sprinkle a little diatomaceous earth or Borax on the floor.
Step 6. Repeat the above. That’s right you need to constantly be on guard. Fleas do not want to give up a perfectly good home, so keep a constant check, especially for a period of time right after you find a flea.
Good job. You should have the fleas on the run, or jump, if you followed the above directions. Just be sure to keep your guard up and be sure to worm your dog.
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