Help! Fleas! Tips on how to get rid of fleas in your house and on your animals
Fleas? Ohh come on, not in MY house!
Hopefully not everyone is familiar with the fact that fleas can cause loads of problems around the house once our animals brought them in. These little parasites are huge survivors and can hide everywhere: on our animals’ body, on their favourite places, beds, curtains, floor cracks, carpets – so literally EVERYWHERE. They enjoy warmer and colder weather too – normal room temperature is their favourite - and their eggs can stay alive for weeks, so these little animals can be recurring guests in the house if we are unable to destroy them to their last egg.
As I said, hopefully not everyone is familiar with these little parasites, but believe me, many of us went through the same thing – although we tend to keep this private. Once someone realizes they have fleas in the house they feel this is a real disaster and other people would think that they are filthy and are living in a very dirty environment – although this is NOT the case. We work as much as others to keep our house clean and we love our animals, too - but fleas are very sneaky.
Good to know
Some animals (dogs are more often, than cats) can have severe allergic reaction to flea bites. The saliva of these insects can contain allergy-causing substances that can make our animals to scratch without even stopping.
Pets even tend to try to ‘bite out’ the fleas from their fur, causing redness and swelling on their skin. Sometimes this can also result in hair loss and skin abrasions – sadly, these symptoms require an immediate visit to the vet.
The first contact
As far as I can remember, we always had several animals around the house back in Hungary. Chickens, geese, ducks, fish, turtles, rabbits, hamsters, parrots, dogs and cats all over these years – sometimes all of them at once and sometimes only a few. Cats and dogs were always allowed to enter the house (not the bedrooms though), so I guess it is not a surprise we had to face several problems during these years, including the above mentioned little and annoying parasites.
At first, during the first few weeks we were not even able to realize the sad fact that our animals are infected – we thought during the hot summer days not just us, but they want to get out of their skin, too, so the regular scratching is normal. Later, when the weather turned slightly colder we realized they still continue to scratch themselves, so we wanted to find out why. We started looking all over the body as we suspected some kind of irritation at first. Needless to say, we found nothing.
A few days later while sitting on the couch in the living room, I realized something is trying to bite me on the leg sometimes. It took me about an hour to find out: very-very little, black things were jumping on our floor. At first I felt disgust and then I really felt dirty as I realized, these are fleas – fleas, that I thought only thrive on wild animals. My first reaction was to get out the vacuum cleaner and use it for a while. I vacuumed out the living room twice, and then went on to the following rooms, too. The next morning I saw the same little insects happily jumping on the floor again.
I also checked the cats’ bed and saw several little white dots (these are the flea eggs) and little brownish flea dirt all over their furniture. I almost started to cry.
Flea bites on humans
Did you know?
You can find out whether the little brownish ‘particles’ in your pet’s bed are flea dirt or not by dripping a drop of water onto the particles. If the particle slowly dissolves and the water turns red/brown - your pet is infected by fleas!
Trying to find a cure
After the second shock I asked my father to rush to the store and buy something against fleas. We got some kind of spray that we were allowed to use all over the house – even on couches and beds if needed (though normally, fleas are unable to jump higher than about 20cms) – without leaving any stain. It looked like this spray will solve our problem as fleas disappeared.
Just to make sure we bought pet shampoo for the pets to and gave a nice bath for them. Well, I would lie to say they enjoyed their bath, but at least we still had our arms on their place by the end of the procedure.
A few weeks passed and the fleas came back. That’s when I began to read several pages on the internet about fleas and how to kill them – we tried all, nothing helped.
My last hope
Finally, as my last hope I typed amazon.com into my browser. I have spent at least an hour to find a few things that can ‘work’ together and hopefully will completely eliminate fleas in the house and on our pets as well.
In the following Amazon capsules you can see what did we buy and why did they prove to be useful.
Spot-on for small dogs.
Flea treatment spray
This is necessary to be used in the house, especially around the pets’ beds and favourite places. As the spray is non-toxic and leaves no stains all I had to do is to close the windows and use the spray thorough the whole house, including all couches, chairs, carpets, and curtains, so literally everything. Leave the spray settle for 30 mins then open the windows and use the vacuum cleaner all over the house. With this, we were able to get rid of all flea eggs within a day. (I kept vacuuming twice a day for the next few days, just to make sure.)
This was a very handy tool to help our animals suffer less. All we had to do is to use the comb on their fur and comb out the fleas. Once we found some I immediately caught them with my hand (picked off the comb) and put them into a bowl of water until they drowned. On the end I flushed the water in the toilet. After we have used the upper mentioned ‘tools’ (I mean the trap, shampoo, spot-on and spray) it took about 3 days to completely comb out all the dead fleas and the remaining flea dirt from the hair of the animals. Since then, I still use the comb regularly, just to make sure we won’t have any parasites again.
Needless to say this time we were successful. All fleas and their eggs also disappeared, the pets are not scratching, nothing is jumping on the floor and is trying to bite us.
We are very happy, but now we also learnt our lesson: use spot-ons on pets and use the spray every 4 months, nice flea-shampoo bath for the pets every 6 months, use the flea-comb on the pets regularly and occasionally turn on the flea trap.
With all these now I am sure the fleas won’t stand a chance ever in the future and our animals can have a happy, scratching-free life, too.
I hope I was able to give some hope and good advice for everyone who is facing the same problem like we did. I really recommend the above mentioned 5 things as they are not expensive, but very useful and can save you from many problems if you have any pet.
Remember: it is better to prevent a problem than to cure it later with much more effort.
What about you?
Have you ever had to face a flea problem?
How can you check your pets for fleas?
Share your ideas!
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© Copyright 2012-2014, Zsofia Koszegi-Nagy (zsobig)
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