How to Get Fleas off My Dog

You’ve determined your dog has fleas. Now what? You may be in a panic, trying to figure out the best and fastest way to get the fleas off your pet. It’s sad to see your dog itchy and miserable. Plus, you don’t want to end up with a flea infestation in your home.

Let’s take a closer look at the most effective treatments for your dog’s fleas and learn why treating the flea at all stages of its life cycle is crucial to keeping them from coming back.

The experts at Mosquito Joe discuss how to get fleas off your dog fast and how to avoid these nasty pests in the future.

The Single Best Way to Get Fleas off a Dog

To remove fleas from your dog, the single best way is to treat your dog not just for adult fleas (that you may have noticed on your dog’s skin), but also flea eggs, larva, and pupa.

Here are the stages of a flea’s life cycle:

  • Eggs: Adult fleas lay as many as 30 to 60 eggs each day and up to several thousand over a lifetime. When the flea lays eggs on your dog, some will remain in his or her coat, but others will fall off the pet and onto the pet’s bedding or your floor where it can nestle into carpeting, move into couch crevices, and get under baseboards.
  • Larva: Featuring a hairy, worm-like appearance, larvae inhabit dark crevices, such as under carpets or in the pet’s bedding. They go through three stages of growth before becoming a pupa, and it’s essential to destroy them before they have a chance to develop.
  • Pupa: Larva spins a silk cocoon that develops into a pupa—either over a few days or several weeks. The adult emerges from the pupa once the environmental conditions are right.
  • Adult: When feeding on a host, an adult flea lives an average of two to three months and up to 1.5 years if the conditions are ideal.

Treating one stage of the life cycle may mislead you to think you’ve stopped the problem. For example, it’s possible to remove all the visible adult fleas, but then the eggs hatch days or weeks later and you’re dealing with an infestation all over again. For this reason, the best course of action is to use treatments that will destroy the flea at all stages.

Flea Home Remedies

There are a few home remedies that can help to stop fleas in their tracks, including:

  • Diatomaceous earth (DE) application. This white, powdery substance is fossilized remains of algae and is non-toxic to dogs and humans. It creates holes in the flea exoskeleton, which causes the pests to die. You can sprinkle the powder around your dog’s bedding and on any other areas you think fleas may be present. You can also work a small amount of powder through the dog’s hair. The DE will kill fleas in as little as four hours.
  • Essential oil spray. Dilute a few drops of essential oil that repels fleas in a spray bottle with water and spray directly onto your dog, avoiding the eye area. Effective essential oils include citronella, peppermint, rosemary, and eucalyptus. There haven’t been studies indicating essential oils kill fleas on contact, but they effectively repel the pests immediately.
  • Apple cider vinegar. While it may seem like a stinky solution, apple cider vinegar balances the dog’s skin pH levels, which makes the skin and coat an unsustainable environment for fleas to live. Dilute six cups of vinegar with four cups of water, add a dash of sea salt, and spray onto your dog, avoiding the eye area. Don’t worry—the vinegar smell will dissipate as it dries.

Over-the-Counter Flea Medications

Read the labels on over-the-counter flea medications to find products that will kill adult fleas, the eggs, pupa, and larvae.

Here are some types of flea medications you can purchase without a prescription:

  • Topical: This is a liquid you apply to the dog’s skin once a month. It kills fleas, as well as ticks, in all life It only protects against infestation for 30 days, so it’s important to reapply monthly.
  • Collar: Depending on the brand, some collars provide both flea and tick protection for several months—no need for a monthly application.
  • Flea shampoo: The right flea shampoo product will kill the fleas in all life stages on contact and can repel new pests for several days. You may need to continue shampooing every week unless you combine it with another treatment method for longer-term protection.

Prescription Flea Treatments

These medications require a trip to the vet but can help you kill fleas and prevent an infestation on your dog:

  • Chews: This oral flea medication can deliver up to 12 weeks of flea and tick protection. It starts killing fleas in all life stages within two hours.
  • Topical: Similar to over-the-counter topical treatments, a topical product that requires a prescription often protects against multiple conditions in addition to a flea infestation. Some include treatment for heartworm, ticks, ear mites, and mange mites, as well as fleas.

A Flea-Free Yard Promotes a Flea-Free Dog

One of the most effective ways to keep your dog flea-free is by eradicating fleas from your yard. If you’re ready to take a proactive approach to achieve a yard you and your dog can enjoy without constant worry (or scratching), reach out to your local Mosquito Joe. We have effective flea-control treatments to keep fleas away for good. Call 1-855-275-2563 or schedule an appointment for services now.

One way to keep fleas from finding your furry friend in the first place is to keep up with cleaning in your house. Get in touch with Molly Maid to schedule regular home cleanings. Like Mosquito Joe, Molly Maid is a member of the Neighborly® family of home service brands.


How to Build a Fire Pit

How to Build a Fire Pit for Perfect Evenings Outside

A fire pit is a classic backyard amenity, providing endless entertainment for families and friends alike. Even better? A fire pit is a relatively easy project that somewhat handy people might feel comfortable tackling on their own.

If you want to learn how to build a fire pit cheaply, read on for the step-by-step instructions—you’ll be ready to enjoy s’mores with the family or guests in no time.

Affordable Fire Pit Ideas

Since pre-made fire pit options can get expensive fast, let’s zero-in on budget-friendly fire pit ideas with simple supplies and instructions.

Rather than building an elaborate flagstone patio or seating area, create a DIY fire pit on a grass, dirt, or gravel surface that you already have on your property. Then, all you’ll have to do is pull up your lawn chairs and bring on the fun.

Keep in mind that local building codes strictly govern fire pits, and there may be special requirements. Learn about the code that pertains to your neighborhood before you begin a backyard fire pit project.

Instructions for How to Build a Fire Pit with Bricks

First, gather the following materials:

  • Shovel
  • Level
  • Metal fire pit ring
  • Retaining wall blocks
  • 7″ square pavers or firebricks
  • Pea gravel
  • All-purpose sand

Then, identify the area where you want your fire pit to be located. Choose a flat, level area a minimum of 25 feet from buildings and trees. If you plan to build on a grassy area, remove the top layer of sod with a shovel. Planning to build the fire pit on level gravel or dirt? You are ready to go with no extra prep necessary.

After choosing your fire pit spot, follow these steps:

  1. Use the size of your metal fire ring to determine how large the pit will be. Place the metal ring on the ground with the retaining wall blocks surrounding it, and then mark the outside with the shovel’s sharp edge. This will identify the area that needs to be cleared.
  2. Move the blocks and ring out of the way and dig inside the marked hole to make it at least 7″ deep.
  3. Line the hole with a 1″ layer of the sand and tamp the sand down flat to create a level surface. Use the level to ensure you have an even surface.
  4. Lay the first layer of blocks neatly inside the hole, placing them on the outer edge of the hole to create a circle.
  5. Place the metal ring inside the first layer of blocks.
  6. Insert the firebricks or square pavers in the bottom of the pit, covering as much of the area as you can.
  7. Fill the gaps in between the blocks and pavers with the pea gravel.
  8. Stack the remaining retaining wall blocks until you reach the height you want. Stagger the blocks so that the seams are not aligned, creating both a nice look and a more solid structure.

How to Build a Fire Pit with Rocks

If you prefer the rustic look of stacked rocks for your fire pit, you won’t need the metal ring or pea gravel. Line the ground with a 1″ layer of sand, covering a foot or so outside of the fire pit for additional protection. Make sure there is no yard matter or grass within two feet of the pit. Then, stack the rocks as securely as possible. Use non-flammable landscape adhesive, masonry adhesive, or liquid nails to provide additional staying power.

Give your Fire Pit some Flare

To level-up your fire pit without burning up your budget, consider some of these decorative options:

  • Add a smoker fire basket, also known as a vertical drum. Insert it into the center of your fire pit and secure it tightly with the rocks or bricks.
  • If you choose the brick pit option, you can top it off with a fire bowl. Build the first layer of the pit securely around the screen top of the bowl.
  • Hang outdoor lights above the fire pit to create an inviting ambiance.
  • Place comfortable outdoor seating around the fire pit along with trays or small tables for holding s’mores ingredients and drinks.

Protect Your Yard from Mosquitoes for the Ultimate Backyard Experience

Spending time outside in the evening can mean spending time surrounded by pesky mosquitoes. Don’t let mosquitoes take the fun out of your new fire pit! The experts at your local Mosquito Joe perform seasonal mosquito treatments to protect your yard and allow you to make the most of your backyard fire pit experience.

With barrier sprays that repel not only mosquitoes, but also fleas, ticks, and some flies, you can enjoy your s’mores without the hassle of insects. Give us a call at 1-855-275-2563 or contact us online so we can make the backyard fun again for you and your family.

Don’t have time for a DIY? Get The Grounds Guys involved for any of your backyard landscape design needs. Like Mosquito Joe, The Grounds Guys is a fellow member of the Neighborly® family of home service brands.


Backyard Activities for Kids

Enticing kids away from electronics to enjoy the great outdoors is a challenge most parents can understand. With the right backyard activities for kids of all ages, you can keep toddlers, preschoolers, and even teens entertained for hours.

Turn your backyard into the place to be, with these activity ideas that transform your yard into a fun zone. Your kids will love having something new to do, and you will enjoy the opportunity to make memories outside with the family.

Make the Backyard a Blast for Kids of All Ages

Finding activities that appeal to both a toddler and a teen can be tricky, but it’s possible! Get hesitant teens and older kids involved by encouraging them to assist younger children with projects and games. Not only will you be helping them build teamwork skills, but the right activities will enable the kids to make sibling memories together that they will remember for years.

Giving teens and older children the task of keeping the younger ones engaged will provide them with a sense of responsibility. Once you get the ball rolling, you may be surprised to see older siblings take ownership and think of new ways to create family fun in the backyard.

Backyard Activities for Toddlers

Toddlers love to be busy. Focus on finding activities that will keep their bodies moving and their brains stimulated.

Here are some of our favorite outdoor play ideas for toddlers:

  • Draw with chalk or ice. If you have a backyard patio or sidewalk, toddlers will enjoy creating artwork with colorful sidewalk chalk or even ice cubes. Little ones will be intrigued by the watermarks they can make with ice as it melts on the surface. Let toddlers free-draw, or show them some of your artistic skills and watch them re-create their own versions.
  • Go on a treasure hunt. Guide toddlers on a backyard hunt for easy-to-find items such as leaves, rocks, a dandelion or flower, and bugs.
  • Create a kiddie pool full of fun. Fill a plastic kiddie pool or large bin with sand, water, or gravel along with fun sensory items like plastic shovels, bowls, small balls, and toys.
  • Play with a ball. Kicking a ball around the yard is an excellent way for toddlers to expend their energy and enhance motor development.

Backyard Activities for Preschoolers

Like toddlers, preschoolers enjoy activities that allow them to move their bodies. They also benefit from activities that provide an outlet for them to create and explore.

Here are backyard play ideas for children in that 3-5-year-old range:

  • Make yard art. Tape a large poster board or paper to a fence and bring out markers and finger paints to let your preschooler beautify the backyard. Clean-up is easy, and your child will take pride in making an outdoor masterpiece.
  • Wash cars, bikes, and toys. Adding water to any outdoor activity increases the fun factor for preschoolers. Fill a bucket with water and some tear-free baby shampoo and let your child use sponges or rags to clean your car or even their own scooters, tricycles, and other outdoor toys. Let them rinse everything off with a hose and show them how to dry with clean towels.
  • Create an obstacle course. Help preschoolers to work on gross motor skill development, like jumping, running, kicking, and throwing, by setting up an obstacle course. Include steps such as kicking a ball through a hoop, jumping off a step, hopping on one foot down a path, and throwing a ball into a bucket.
  • Make giant bubbles. Fill a kiddie pool or plastic bin with a homemade bubble solution made with a gallon of warm water, one cup of dishwashing soap, and two tablespoons of glycerin. Create bubble wands out of bendable wire hangers, fly swatters, and pipe cleaners. Let children experiment to find out which wand-type makes the biggest bubbles.

Backyard Activities for Older Kids and Teens

Worried your older kids and teens might think playing outside is for babies? With these activities, they will rediscover a love for the backyard:

  • Have a water balloon fight. It’s a classic backyard game that older kids will love. Fill water balloons with an outdoor hose. Supply each kid with an equal number of water balloons and see who has the most accurate throw and who gets the wettest.
  • Set up a cornhole game. Whether you decide to create a DIY version or purchase one from the store, this beanbag-toss game is a hit with older kids and teens.
  • Play giant Jenga. You can build a giant Jenga game out of 2x4s or purchase one online, but this is a game that will bring hours of entertainment for one or two older kids or even a small group.
  • Invest in a trampoline. Trampolines with a security net are a great way to tire out kids of all ages while they have a blast!

Backyard Fun for the Whole Family

Getting the entire family outside to enjoy the backyard together is a dream for most parents. Here are some family-friendly ideas you can try to engage all of your family members:

  • Play a game of chalk Pictionary. Split into teams and play Pictionary outside. Instead of using a piece of paper and pencil-like in the traditional board game, use the patio or sidewalk and chalk to draw the images. Working in teams means even the younger kids can play with assistance from older siblings and parents.
  • Set up a team scavenger hunt. A scavenger hunt is a blast when the whole family is in on the hunt together. Create a list of items—some easy to find and some more challenging to find—and work in pairs to find them.
  • Have an outdoor movie night. Throw a white sheet up on an outdoor building or tall ladders and use a projector to put your favorite family movie up for everyone to enjoy. Bring out blankets and lawn chairs for seating, and serve your families’ favorite movie snacks to make it a night to remember.

Make Sure Your Backyard Fun Is Mosquito-Free

Are you worried mosquitoes might put a damper on your backyard family fun? Let your local Mosquito Joe keep pests, including mosquitoes, ticks, and flees, away with effective lawn barrier treatments. Call 1-855-275-2563 or connect with us online to schedule expert mosquito control services designed to keep your backyard activities bite-free.

You don’t want your kids running around on a busted deck. Contact your local Mr. Handyman for help repairing your deck or building a new one. Like Mosquito Joe, Mr. Handyman is a member of the Neighborly® family of trusted home service brands.


Where Do Fleas Come From?

Fleas are one of nature’s more mysterious insects. You’re more likely to notice the consequences of a flea before ever seeing one. But once you see your dog incessantly scratching, you know you might have a problem on your hands.

A flea infestation is uncomfortable for your furry friends, but their bites are itchy to humans too. Flea saliva is a common allergen that leads to rashes and may exacerbate respiratory illness. What’s more, it can take weeks and months to control the issue if fleas get inside your home.

For this reason, it’s far better to take a proactive approach to prevent the pests than to wait and deal with them once you have an infestation.

It helps to know where fleas come from and how to avoid the little buggers to stop them from invading your home and terrorizing you and your pets.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about fleas and how to keep your pets and home flea-free.

Where Do Fleas Live?

Where do dog fleas come from? Are they the same as cat fleas? Fleas are the most common external parasite of domestic animals. Dogs can host several flea species, but the most common flea type for dogs and cats is the cat flea known as Ctenocephalides felis. You read that right—it’s typically a cat flea species that’s bothering your dog! (Dog fleas look the same as cat fleas, but they aren’t as common.)

Fleas originate from another infested animal. They easily spread between different animals and then make their way into your home when the pets come in for a visit or to sleep. Outside, fleas can typically be found in shady areas, near long grass or bushes, while they wait for a host to pass by. Because they can live without a blood meal from a host for as long as three months, they remain a threat even when not on your pet.

With flat bodies and powerful legs, fleas can jump 100 times their height. Once they detect a host, they spring up and latch on to the animal, migrating to places the animal cannot easily scratch with claws or bite away with teeth, such as the abdomen, joints, and under limbs. Fleas tend to nestle in places the animal cannot easily scratch with claws or bite away with teeth.

How Do Fleas Survive?

There are four stages of the flea’s life cycle:

  1. Adult
  2. Egg
  3. Larva
  4. Pupa

An adult flea spends most of its life on an animal, while the development of the egg, larva, and pupa happens off the pet. That’s why effective flea control must include treatments for both the pet and the environment to stop a recurring infestation. Only eliminating fleas on your pet is not enough to rid your yard and home of the problem. In fact, the pupal stage of the flea is so resistant that a pupa can survive for as many as two years in the right conditions. Unless you eradicate all traces of fleas in all the stages, you may deal with the flea problem’s consequences for a very long time.

Adult fleas living on your pet will feed on blood daily or every other day. The female will then lay eggs on the host animal—up to 30 to 60 eggs per day. While some of the eggs remain on your pet, others fall into the crevices of sofas, chairs, or the fibers of your carpet. Yuck! You may be scratching right now just thinking about it!

How to Avoid a Flea Problem

So what’s the solution to this pesky flea issue? Whether you are trying to avoid a flea infestation or are dealing with an active one now, understanding fleas’ nature and how they impact your pet and your property is an excellent place to start. The next best thing you can do is take action right away.

Here are the steps to avoid or eliminate a flea problem:

  • When outside, stay clear of cool, shady, and humid areas where fleas thrive.
  • Use flea treatments on your pet. Check with your veterinarian to find the right treatment to meet your pet’s needs. You can also use a flea comb to go through your pet’s coat before letting them inside.
  • Regularly clean and vacuum your home, including baseboards, under furniture and cushions, and in any area where your pet spends time. Because fleas avoid high-traffic zones, cleaning those hard-to-reach spots can make a difference.
  • Treat your yard for fleas. Eradicating fleas from your property is your best line of defense against a pet and home infestation. For best results, keep your grass mowed, shrubs trimmed, and get professional flea control treatments designed to destroy and prevent fleas.

Freedom from Fleas Is Possible with Mosquito Joe

Are you worried about getting fleas in your home? As long as you keep your pets treated and give your yard the anti-pest TLC it needs, you can enjoy a flea-free zone!

Let your local Mosquito Joe keep pests, including fleas, mosquitoes, and ticks, away with our effective lawn barrier treatments. Call 1-855-275-2563 or connect with us online to schedule expert flea control services designed to keep your backyard activities bite-free.

Fleas like to hide in all of those dark, hard to reach areas of your home. Are you keeping those as clean as you think? Let Molly Maid help by scheduling regular home cleanings. Like Mosquito Joe, Molly Maid is a member of the Neighborly® family of home service brands.