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The Only Way to Get Rid of Fleas

Updated on March 14, 2017

When Fleas Attack and Infest Your Home

There are a million articles on the internet on how to get rid of fleas. How do I know this? Because my house was a flea nightmare, and so were all the treatments that were posted online.

My husband and I have lots of fur children: two dogs and six cats. We thought the dogs were protected because we treat the yard twice a year, and they are bathed regularly. In fact, I have never seen one flea on them. But suddenly, every animal in our house had them. They were everywhere! It turns out our cat, Charley, who is an escape artist, got out when no one was paying attention, and brought back fleas when he came home.

I researched every website that existed to learn more about fleas. We treated the yard and bombed the house, and treated each animal with Frontline, Capstar, and flea shampoos, but to no avail. My fur babies were infested. Those fleas must have the armor of steel to live through such poisoning!

The Culprit: Charlie the escape artist.
The Culprit: Charlie the escape artist. | Source

How Fleas Proliferate

Let's face it, fleas make your animal's life miserable and your life tiring. I know from experience, and it has made me that much wiser.

Because they cannot lay eggs until they have eaten, the adult flea will live on your pet and feast on its blood. The bug is flat and the bristles on its legs help penetrate the host's fur. They can run a marathon on their host and you will never be able to catch them.

The female can lay up to 50 eggs a day, but these eggs do not stay on the host. They drop off on the carpet, on furniture, or outside. In order to keep the female from completing its life cycle, you must use something to sterilize it.

Flea Life Cycle

Once you understand the flea life cycle, you will understand why they are so hard to get rid of.

Flea Eggs: These eggs are round, white, and almost microscopic They can't stay on the host because they have nothing to help attach them to fur or skin. At this stage in the cycle, it is important to vacuum everyday, sometimes twice a day. Flea eggs can lay dormant for a year before hatching. It might even be a good idea to get rid of carpet and lay down another type of flooring that they cannot live on.

Larvae: Flea larvae have three stages of growth. They are transparent and feast off of flea feces and other organic debris found in carpets, bedding, and soil. The larval stage lasts about 5 to 18 days (longer in some cases). After this time, the larva spins a silken cocoon and pupates.

Pupa: The pupa is the final stage of the adult flea. After this, they will emerge within 3 to 5 days. They love warm climates and such conditions help restart the cycle.

Flea Life Cycle

You have to stop the cycle to get rid of the fleas.
You have to stop the cycle to get rid of the fleas.

Are Flea Products Effective?

Fleas have evolved and become resistant to almost all over-the-counter treatments. I've listed below products that we have tried that didn't work. Some worked temporarily and some didn't work at all. It will depend on the severity. Some of these treatments may work for you, but in our case, they just couldn't kill the fleas.

When we gave up, the vets put our dogs on Trifexis and gave Cheristin to our cats. In less then 24 hours, the fleas were gone.

Flea Products and Their Performance

Flea Product/Remedy
Personal Results
Frontline
It's suppose to kill the flea life cycle by making the flea sterile, but didn't work for us.
Capstar
This kills fleas that are on your dog or cat, but doesn't break the life cycle.
Boric Acid
Put this on your carpets to kill fleas by dehydrating their bodies. Again, it does not stop the flea cycle.
Flea Shampoos
It only worked for a short time but did not kill every flea.
Flea Collar
Did nothing.
Flea Comb
This worked great at getting the fleas off the dogs and cats, but didn't help kill them.
Lemon Juice
It's suppose to repel fleas, but didn't.
Flea Spray
Did nothing.
Trifexis
Fleas were gone in less than 24 hours.
Cheristin
Fleas were gone in less than 24 hours.
The ugliest female I have ever seen.
The ugliest female I have ever seen.

Diseases That Fleas Carry

Fleas can be detrimental to your beloved pets' health. They are not simply little itchy creatures that make you and your pets irritated, but are also vectors for diseases.

Tape Worms: If a dog eats a flea that is carrying tapeworm eggs, then that dog could soon become infected. Once inside your dog, the tapeworm hatches and attaches itself to the intestines. This can cause weight loss, vomiting, and irritation.

The Plague: This is the same plague that caused the death of over a third of the European population back in the Middle Ages. It is no longer common for people to die from it, but your pets can get it if a flea has bitten a wild animal with the plague and transfers it. The outcome can be devastating.

Cat-Scratch Disease: While this does nothing to your cat, it can have a great impact on you as the owner. Cat-scratch disease is carried in the feces of a cat that has been bitten by an infected flea. Humans can contract the disease if they are scratched by a cat whose claws have traces of infected feces.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis: Both of my dogs are allergic to fleas. The allergy causes hot spots and can lead dogs to over-groom themselves to the point of hair loss.

What You Should Do If Your Pets Encounter a Flea Infestation

With all the money we spent on flea products, I could have taken my dogs to their vets three times. Why did we wait? We were stubborn and thought that we could solve the problem ourselves. After all, it can't be that hard to kill fleas.

If your animals gets infested, please take them to the vets. Fleas have become so immune to most products. Year after year, like bacteria and antibiotics, fleas become stronger, and the medications over the counter just don't work.

After a trip to the vets, the fleas were gone in 24 hours. No more scratching, biting, or keeping me up all night. All it took was a pill and cat liquid treatment. This was income tax money well spent.

Keeping Your Pets Healthy and Happy on a Budget

Owning pets can be very expensive, especially when you have a lot of them. But it's not impossible to keep them healthy and free of fleas, ticks, and heart worms.

There are clinics that have cheap but effective medications. You don't have to break your bank to get them. We chose to buy three months' worth at a time so that we have three months to save for the next time. If you have indoor cats, treating them with medication for three consecutive months should break the flea cycle.

If all else fails, just do your best to keep your pet healthy, happy, and itch-free. That was all I wanted for my babies.

My Babies

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      Gwen 6 weeks ago

      I love all of your articles. This one is perfectly written as usual.

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