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Barks & Mewsings

The Trupanion blog

How to Get Rid of Fleas: A Pet Owner's Guide

By: Kelli Rascoe

The health of your furry family members is a top priority. And no matter the season, pesky pests like fleas and ticks have a way of intruding in your homes and hindering your pet’s well-being. Naturally, no pet owner wants the stress of a flea infestation. Because of this, we created a pet owner guide on how to get rid of fleas. We sat down with Trupanion veterinarian Dr. Sarah Nold to learn more about how pets get fleas and tips for flea prevention for your furry friends.

How do pets get fleas?

According to the CDC, “the lifecycle of flea can last months to even years depending on the host or environment.” Therefore, you may need to prep your home before you bring your pet home.

Fleas can show up at any time and attach themselves to dogs, cats, and people. For example, “typically your pet picks up fleas from an environment infested with fleas. However, they could also get fleas from being close to other pets with fleas,” says Nold.

Further, fleas can really be anywhere a pet or person was that contracted them, like at a dog park or veterinary clinic.

Brown dog rubs head against owner's hand

Common signs of pets with fleas

Keep an eye on your pet’s behavior and habits, as that might be your first indication that something more is going on with your furry friend.

Consider the following signs:

At the same time, not every pet will have the same sign or reaction to fleas. For instance, “you also may not notice any signs, as a cat just may appear to be grooming,” points out Nold. If something seems out of the ordinary with your pet, please seek medical care.

How to get rid of fleas

As a pet owner, you want your pets to be healthy and happy. If your pets do happen to have fleas, you want to be able to ease their pain and resolve the situation as seamlessly as possible. Nold breaks down a step-by-step guide to getting rid of fleas-

  1. To get rid of fleas you must treat all your pets in your household.
  2. You must also treat your home.
  3. The treatment needs to be continued consistently for a few months before a flea infestation is cleared.
  4. Treatment (like flea preventative) needs to be continued year-round to prevent a flea infestation from occurring.

For additional tips on cats and fleas, check out this article from PetMd.

Tips for flea prevention

A flea infestation can be bothersome for the entire family. To keep your pets and home pest-free consider these flea prevention tips:

  • Not all flea preventions are created equal.
  • Some over-the-counter flea preventions can be ineffective or even toxic to your pet.
  • Some flea preventions may be better in specific situations.
  • You may want to use flea prevention combined with tick prevention in certain areas or during certain times of the year.
  • Consider oral flea prevention versus topical flea prevention and what works best for your furry friend.
  • Depending on your pet’s age, size, or breed they may need preventative that’s personalized for them. Consult with your veterinarian on what they recommend for your best friend.

Further, seek the guidance and expertise of your veterinarian. They can provide a personal recommendation that is best for your pet.

Cat rubs her head against owners hand

The best course of action for flea treatment

Fleas may be hard to detect and to get rid of, but the best way to prepare for these pests starts with prevention.

“Naturally, the best course of action is to have all your pets on effective veterinarian recommended flea prevention. For example, it’s much easier to prevent fleas than to get rid of a flea infestation. If you have an infestation of fleas in your house or yard, it may be easier and safer (especially for pets and children) to consult a professional to treat the environment,” states Nold.

Consider keeping a monthly calendar for all your pet’s medication, wellness exams, and preventative care. That way you always have an idea of when to give your pet their flea preventative.

Flea prevention: for the overall wellness of your pets

A flea bite and infestation can occur to any pet during any season. But by having your pets on year-round preventative, keeping an eye out for pests, and listening to the expertise of your veterinarian, your furry friends can have optimum wellness year-round.

To learn more about pet grooming, read Seven Puppy Grooming Tips for your Furry Friend.

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Welcome to the Trupanion blog. A place to celebrate pets, pet health and medical insurance for cats and dogs.

This blog is designed to be a community where pet owners can learn and share. The views expressed in each post are the opinion of the author and not necessarily endorsed by Trupanion. Always consult your veterinarian for professional advice.

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