Have you seen your furry friend scratching or biting? Maybe you even saw one jumping from your pet. Fleas are a common household pest when you have pets and, if responded to quickly and strategically, can be resolved easily.
The life cycle of the flea depends on environmental conditions. Fleas flourish in warm conditions and love to take up residence inside your home. Their ideal temperature range is 80 to 90°F with 70 percent humidity.
In these conditions, fleas have a life cycle of 18 to 21 days. If the weather isn’t ideal and there isn’t a host to feed on, flea larvae may remain dormant for months while waiting for better conditions to develop. On average, adult fleas live from several weeks to several months.
It's estimated that only about 5% of the fleas in your home are on your pet, which means about 95% are larvae, eggs, and cocoons hiding in your home. You will need to take a multi-faceted approach to be rid of them.
Here are steps to clear up a flea infestation:
1. If possible, bathe your pet thoroughly with pet-safe soap or shampoo, starting at the neck and working your way down the body. Starting at the neck blocks fleas from fleeing to your pet's head.
2. Comb through your pets’ fur with a fine-tooth comb to remove any larvae, fleas, or flea dirt. The base of the tail, behind the ears, and in the "armpit" of the legs are all common locations for fleas to hide.
3. Deep clean your house! Use a powerful vacuum to clean your floors, baseboards, and any furniture. Shampoo your carpets if possible, and wash all bedding in the home. Wash your pet's bedding, and any other bedding they use, in hot water every few days.
4. To prevent future infestations, talk to your vet about getting your pet started on a monthly flea treatment or getting them a flea collar. Be sure to comb and check your pets' fur regularly!