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The key to controlling fleas

Posted August 07, 2013 in Advice Column, Norwalk

We are just coming up to August and September — the worst months for flea problems. Fleas are often unseen until they’ve reached a high population. Use these tips to help:

• Use products sold from a veterinary clinic, as less expensive medication products are not very effective.

• Treat every pet in the household every 30 days for eight consecutive months. Each pet gets a job of “exterminator.” They’ll go where the fleas are in the environment, and when the unseen cocoon hatches sometime in the next months months, a pet with a veterinary product given in the last 30 days will be able to kill the flea, preventing the cycle from repeating. Each female flea lays 50 eggs a day. A late or missed dose starts the cycle over.

• There is no need to bathe your pet with flea shampoos or use collars, etc. Sprays/bombs can be used to knock back problems in the environment by a few percent, but nothing kills a flea cocoon. Only when the cocoon hatches can the flea be killed.

• Collars are a repellent for the neck. Fleas will still get on the pet elsewhere and ride to the home environment.

• Vacuum your home. The vibrations of the vacuum cleaner help some of the flea cocoons to hatch early, sucking the adults up into the vacuum. Each time you vacuum, you need to empty your bag outside so that the fleas don’t replicate inside the vacuum and get put back into your home the next time you use the vacuum.

Information provided by Dr. Jen Mathis, DVM, CVJ, cVMA: Acupuncturist,  Family Pet Veterinary Center, Norwalk, 981-0317,

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