Ctenocephalides felis, or the cat flea, is the flea species commonly found in the United States. Fleas are tiny pests that feed on your dog's blood. Hopping from host to host, fleas live on your dog and in his bedding, the carpets, your furniture and in the garden. They are not picky eaters -- your ankles are equally acceptable food sources. Getting rid of fleas in the house is a step-by-step process that focuses on treating your pet and his environment with a variety of flea products.
Treat Your Dog
Bathe your dog with a mild shampoo formulated for dogs. If you're applying a flea treatment after bathing your dog, avoid flea shampoos. Dogs vary in their sensitivity to flea products; avoid using multiple flea-killing products at the same time.
Brush and comb your dog's fur thoroughly. Dip the brush or comb into soapy water to kill any fleas in the bristles, rinse the brush with clean water, and continue grooming the dog.
Treat your dog with a veterinarian-approved flea product. A number of treatments are available, including pills given once per month and drops that are placed on the dog's back. Consult your veterinarian before using any flea product on your dog.
Treat Your Home and Garden
Wash your dog's bedding and blankets with detergent and hot water. Dry the bedding in a hot drier to kill any remaining adult fleas, larvae and eggs. Continue to wash your dog's bedding weekly to kill eggs, larvae and newly hatched fleas.
Vacuum the entire house thoroughly, paying special attention to carpets and furniture where your dog sleeps during the day. Put the vacuum cleaner bag in the trash. Continue to vacuum daily until the flea infestation subsides, then vacuum weekly.
Treat carpets with an insect growth regulator to interrupt the fleas' life cycle. These products prevent eggs from hatching and larvae from developing into adult fleas.
Spray an insect growth regulator such as a pyriproxyfen product in the garden, around the doghouse and under trees where your dog may rest during the day. Fleas prefer to hide in dark, humid locations such as the cool, moist grass under a tree.
Mow the grass regularly to reduce the fleas' hiding places. Keeping the grass short and watering in the early morning reduces the fleas' hiding places in the yard and garden.
Wear gloves, safety glasses and a dust mask when using flea products on the dog, in the house and outside in the garden.
Flea foggers or bombs should only be used in severe infestations and in conjunction with other flea prevention products. Follow the manufacturer's directions to avoid exposing yourself or your dog to poisonous fumes.
Keep all flea prevention products out of reach of children and pets.
Consult your veterinarian about flea treatments appropriate for your dog.
Vigilance is key to keeping fleas out of the house. Incorporate a regular routine of vacuuming, washing bedding and flea treatment.
Items You Will Need
- Shampoo formulated for dogs
- Pet brush and comb
- Flea prevention pills or drops
- Laundry detergent
- Vacuum cleaner and bags
- Insect growth regulator spray
- Collie Dog on Dog Bed image by Janet Wall from Fotolia.com