Itchy dog scratching fleas on fur at home

As the weather is getting colder in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New England, your pets are spending more time in the house. You’re beginning to notice that they are scratching themselves and you may also be seeing little bite marks and feeling itchy yourself!!  You might have fleas in the house!  After you do a bit of research to determine you’ve got fleas, you decide you want to treat your house for fleas and take a drive to the local hardware store to pick up insect foggers, or flea bombs, to rid yourself of these nasty fleas.  Beware, store-bought flea treatments may not be the best way to rid yourself of these pests, and they certainly aren’t the most proactive approach.  Here are a few reasons why store-bought flea treatments don’t work and when to call a professional.

First, what do you need to know about fleas?

Fleas are surprisingly active during the winter.  In one of our recent blogs about Fleas in Winter, we describe the characteristics of fleas as well as their behavior.  It’s a quick and worthwhile read.

Why Store-Bought Flea Treatments have Limited Effectiveness

Foggers don’t get deep into carpets to effectively treat fleas where they hide.  The formulation of these products’ active ingredients may not be concentrated enough to kill fleas in all stages of their lifecycle deep within carpet piles.  Also, these products are often very flammable, so overusing a store-bought product can lead to injury of your family, friends and pets. 

Another major reason that store-bought treatments fail is that without significant prep work before the treatment, and appropriate follow up after the treatment, the product will have even less effectiveness.

Getting Your Best Flea Treatment Results

Here are a few tips on preparing your home before any flea treatment:

  • Vacuum your carpets and furniture!  Prior to the treatment, vacuum up as much pet hair as possible.  Also, remember to throw out the bag – outside the house immediately!  You want to make sure the fleas and eggs you vacuum up are gone for good!
    • When vacuuming couches and beds, go into cracks and folds of the furniture if the pets are allowed on the furniture.
    • Wash all of your pets’ bedding.  This will also remove fleas which will enhance the effectiveness of the treatment you use.
    • Before using a store-bought product, read and follow the directions carefully. As stated before, the overuse of these products may lead to adverse results.
    • Continue to vacuum your carpets and furniture after treatment has been applied.  Continual vacuuming will stimulate the emergence of adult fleas from the pupil case, which will allow them to be affected by the treatment.  You must be diligent about this step and keep vacuuming until all fleas are gone. 

When it Comes to Fleas Treatments, Begin with Your Pets!

Pets not being treated with a quality flea prevention product is an important reason why store-bought flea treatments fail.  It’s best to talk to your veterinarian about your specific pet and follow their recommendations. As an added bonus these products, when used consistently, will effectively prevent flea infestations.

Keep in mind that even though your cat may not go outside, it is still capable of getting fleas.  This is because your indoor cat may be catching mice that have fleas! Also, if you compassionately care for feral cats on your property, but are not treating them as well, you are vulnerable to getting fleas.

While it may seem simple and economical to purchase store-bought flea foggers for your home, it may not be the best value for money spent, and you may continue to be bothered by fleas.  It might be time to contact a professional who can evaluate your flea infestation and provide step-by-step guidance on how to best prepare for an effective treatment, as well as advise you on how to proactively avoid fleas while you care for your beloved pets. 

The folks at Graduate love our pets also and are here to help you! 

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