Fleas are tiny creatures almost invisible to the eye, but they can wreak complete havoc once they’ve entered a home, putting both your pets and your household at risk. Although fleas are usually found on our pets, once in the home they can infest everywhere, from soft furnishings like carpets, rugs, and bedding to small cracks or holes in walls.
There are several key ways and responsibilities that pet owners have and must stick to if you are to prevent fleas from entering your home altogether. Preventing fleas is far better in terms of ease than it is to try and eradicate fleas from your entire home once they’ve infested.
Stick around to benefit from this simple guide for pet owners to preventing these critters from spreading and keeping a happy and flea-free home.
Where do fleas come from?
Fleas are unfortunately most commonly spread between animals, usually among cats or dogs, which is how they find their way into their homes. Surprisingly the most common type of flea we have to deal with in the UK is called Ctenocephalides felis which is actually a cat flea species. Dog flea species exist too, though cat fleas are a lot more common and are usually the ones we find living happily in either our dogs or cats fur.
How do fleas spread?
Despite adult fleas living on your pets fur in hard to reach places to avoid being scratched off, the earlier stages of a fleas life cycle like the laying of eggs and the development into larva and pupa, happen away from the animal. This is why if you let fleas live on your pet and spread among animals, they then enter your home, the fleas will jump off and lay eggs, quickly causing an infestation.
How to prevent fleas in the home
There are several easy yet hugely effective ways to keep your home free from fleas, protecting both your pets and household.
Consistently use flea and tick treatments
The first and most obvious option is to use dedicated, reputable and reliable flea and tick treatments on all the pets in your household. This is by far the most sensible way to go about it and, depending on the type of treatment you go for, only has to be done once every month or two.
Spot-on flea treatments are the most popularly used products by pet owners today. They come in the form of a small pipette, which you simply have to squeeze onto the back of your pet’s neck at the bottom of their skull. These treatments work by being absorbed into your animal’s skin and therefore bloodstream, which then kills any fleas that are either currently on your pet or any that come into contact with your pet throughout the period of treatment before it must be re-applied.
Spot-on treatments are so popular because of how reliable they are; unlike flea shampoos or sprays, these treatments can’t be washed off with water and stay effective for up to four weeks without you having to worry.
Itch Pet offer a flea, tick and worming treatment subscription service for cat and dog owners across the UK. All you have to do is enter your pet’s details and pay a small fee, to be sent regular monthly treatments direct to your letterbox for you to apply. Rather than having to remember to buy and administer flea treatments each month, Itch Pet simply deliver it as and when needed making it one less thing to think about.
Keep your garden trimmed
Fleas love dark, confined spaces so to give yourself the best chance at avoiding fleas and preventing them from finding their way indoors, it’s best to try and keep your garden trimmed and tidy.
Some simple tips for preventing your garden from becoming a flea haven are:
- Avoid overgrown bushes, shrubs, trees and long grass as these all provide a potential environment for fleas to hide and lay their eggs and increase the chances of fleas jumping onto your pets.
- Try to avoid letting wild animals spend time in your garden e.g don’t feed them or provide anywhere for them to shelter that could cause fleas infesting your garden or animals.
Keep a clean home
Despite keeping your garden tidy and trimmed back, of course, sometimes fleas can still find their way indoors via your pets. Because of this, keeping a clean, hygienic and well-kept home is also important.
Some important things to keep in mind around the home are:
- Regularly hoover your home and empty your hoover bag once finished.
- Hoover deep into your upholstery and get into small holes or cracks.
- Don’t just hoover the main areas of your rooms, it’s important to get in all the hard to reach nooks and crannies too.
- Fleas live in soft furnishings like rugs and even curtains, so it’s important to pay close attention to the hygiene and hoovering of these.
- Wash your bedding, towels and blankets and the like on a weekly basis at a hot temperature.
Wash your pets regularly
Although using monthly flea treatments is hugely important and effective in stopping the catching and spreading of fleas, it’s still necessary to keep your pet clean too. You should wash your cat or dog regularly with both normal and flea shampoos, especially after muddy walks or a walk where they’ve been playing in shrubbery or long grass.
On top of washing, brushing your pets will not only help to keep their fur and skin healthy, but you can get rid of excess fur for fleas to live in and quickly identify any pesky critters that have found their way into the fur.
Use home flea treatments
Finally, if you have stuck to your regular treatments and kept your home, garden and pets clean but have still found fleas in your home, don’t fret. There are still ways to get rid of them, it’s just a slightly longer process. Head to your local pet shop or look online for heavy-duty flea sprays or fogs, or call in professionals to take care of the problem for you.