What to do when your pets get fleas
Our furry and fuzzy little friends that live in our homes, tend to have problems of their own at times. It is up to us as their owners, and caretakers to notice when they are in signs of distress, since they can’t tell us in words. They can show us if they have problems, and they often do right in front of us. Scratching, especially when they seem to dig in one spot on their back can be a sign of fleas. While cats tend to be on the furniture or your laps, they will show more signs of fleas than a dog will. If your pet is getting or already has fleas and they bite at them, they can then get worms as well.
The first sign of taking care of your pet is noticing these things, and even indoor pets can get them. Once you notice the signs there are steps you need to take and supplies you are going to want to get in order to treat not only your pets, but the entire house too. Here are some of the supplies that you are going to want for your house:
Flea Shampoo (specific for dogs and cats)
Flea Collars (one more than you have pets, so 2 dogs mean you need 3 collars)
Garden Flea Treatment for outdoors
Dewormer (also specific to cats and dogs)
If there is only one pet in the house you will have an easier time fixing the problem, more than one pet can prove more difficult. Be sure you follow all the steps to eliminate the problem, within a day or two. Once you bathe the pets, begin doing all the steps to completely solve your problem.
Bathing the Pet
This first step is the most difficult step since most pets don’t like baths, especially cats. I always bathe my pets in the bathtub, but if you have outdoor pets you can do it outside in a small pool. You want to get your pet completely wet before you add the flea shampoo. (Despite what the bottle tells you, fleas can return in a matter of days, not weeks.) Lather your pet completely from top to bottom with the flea shampoo, being careful not to get any in their eyes. Try to keep them in the lather for at least 5 minutes before you rinse them off, and then dry them.
Cats are tough, and it can sometimes take two people to bathe a cat, one holding the animal and the other doing the washing. If there is only one, you want to keep your hand on the base of their neck at all times and wash with the other. While this won’t stop the cat from completely trying to get away, it does help secure them.
Treating the Pet
Once your pet or pets have had a flea bath, you need to give them a flea treatment as well. There are several out there and your vet and store owners will of course make recommendations (usually at a much higher cost than you might be willing or able to spend.) They are not all bad though. It used to be a flea collar was all that was needed, and in some houses, this still works the best. They are not as common though as they once were, as a liquid treatment seems to be spreading throughout the market. This is a liquid that you put on the base of your pet’s neck, where they can’t turn around and lick it off. It soaks into the skin and treats the pet that way, preventing fleas and ticks from coming back for up to 6 months. They usually last about 3 months though. This treatment is fine for most dogs, and great if you have one cat. If you have more than one cat though this may not work. Cats are affectionate and will clean each other, so if they can reach the spot themselves the other cat will clean their neck for them, and this medicine can make them sick.
There are similar treatments and pills for the pets to take if they have worms. While killing the fleas and ticks might stop the pets from ingesting more of them, it won’t stop the worms they may have already developed.
If you have carpet in your house it is a playground for fleas and ticks once they are inside. Clear the pets from the room and get a powder that kills them. It need to sit for ten minutes and then you can suck it up with the vacuum cleaner. Or you can take that extra flea collar, and place it in the bag or trap of your vacuum. When you suck them up, they will die in the vacuum. You will need to vacuum everywhere your pet sleeps so you can kill everything. It’s time consuming and you will need to do it multiple times throughout the week, and daily to be sure that you get them all.
Treatment of the Home
Your home than needs to be treated on the inside and the outside. There is a garden spray you can use that attaches to a hose and allows you to spray around the outer edges of your home. This keeps them from getting in the home from other creatures that could be around. (Think possum, raccoon, rats, and mice all carry fleas.) So, if any of these critters are around your neighborhood your pets could be in danger of getting fleas, even if they are indoor pets. The chances are even higher if they are outdoor pets. You might want to spray along window ledges with a spray flea killer and keep the pets away from it while it dries. They won’t like the smell in most cases so will automatically stay away.
When to see the Vet
If your pet is still scratching or dragging their butt along the floor after all of these treatments than you might want to see the Vet. You can see them even before you start all of this so you can find the products that they suggest, and those that might be safest for your pet. I suggest the Vet for the worm treatment. It’s a shot that costs about $30 and is very fast. It takes care of any worms in their body, killing them and giving your pet relief within an hour.