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.

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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.

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