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Flea control is so much easier, and safer than it was not too many years ago. We no longer need to use the dangerous pesticides on our pets or in our homes we once did.
Knowing a little bit about flea behavior will help you understand the why I make the recommendations that follow. Fleas do not live on your pet. They only jump on to take a blood meal and breed. Then they jump off to lay eggs. They generally lay their eggs in cool dark places, under low set furniture, carpets, deep cracks in hardwood floor. When the eggs hatch, they produce larvae (tiny worm like creatures) that feed on microscopic bits of human and animal dander and other organic matter it finds on the floor. Then it rolls itself into a tiny cocoon that can lay dormant for months until just the right temperature and humidity conditions exist. These little cocoons are very resistant to chemicals (except ones that are also extremely harmful to humans and pets).
In order to rid your home of fleas you must treat the pet and the home. The good news is that both are easier, safer and less expensive than years ago. If the fleas are causing severe irritation to your pet, you can give an oral treatment to immediately kill the fleas on your pet then use one of the newer once a month treatments that are proven safe for dogs and cats. I recommend Advantage or Frontline, which are over the counter products available from your veterinarian. Or, with your veterinarian's prescription and approval, Revolution. Revolution protects against fleas, ticks (although not so good as I would like), heartworms and intestinal parasites. The topical flea products need to used on all dogs and cats in the house once a month for one full year. Then, if you live in a part of the world that has a killing frost and your pet is allowed out of doors, you can stop two months after the first killing frost following your one year treatment then resume treatments when warm weather returns.
The second part of treatment is dealing with the fleas, eggs and larvae that are not on your pet, but are in the environment. This is simply a matter of doing the most thorough vacuum cleaning you have ever done. Pay close attention to the places mentioned above, under furniture, in carpets, stuffed furniture, and even hardwood floors. Washing and drying pet beds will kill fleas, eggs and larvae. Any fleas that escape the vacuum cleaner will be killed when they attempt to take their next blood meal. Also, since some eggs and larvae will also escape the vacuum cleaner and emerge as adults ready to feed and breed months later, you must continue monthly treatments for your pets for the one full year as discussed above.
Your dog may have an allergy to the bite of the flea. So, even with good treatment protocol, all the fleas cannot be eliminated immediately. So, even a few flea bites can cause a dog with flea alergy to scratch intensely (the reaction is similar to the reaction people have to poison ivy). Your veterinarian may be able to prescribe a short course of corticosteroids to diminish the allergic response while you deal with the fleas.
Hope this helps explain things for you
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No doctor patient relationship is formed by this communication. This advice is no substitute for a complete physical examination and appropriate diagnostics provided by a licensed veterinarian.