9 Effective Flea Control Methods

Fleas are an annoying and potentially harmful problem for pets which can be prevented with proper flea control. By controlling fleas early, or taking the right steps to prevent fleas all together, owners can avoid the hassle of flea treatments and keep their cats or dogs healthy and happy.

Never use flea control products that are specifically made for dogs on your cat, including topicals, shampoos, dips, flea collars and powders. Never use a product that contains permethrin or pyrethrin on your cat. Always read through directions completely and thoroughly before using any flea control products.

  1. Grooming: Regular grooming will help control fleas. Use a fine comb or flea comb to check your pets hair for fleas and bathe your animals when you suspect fleas are present. When using a flea comb keep hot and soapy water or alcohol nearby and dip any fleas you find in these liquids to kill them. Check the base of the tail, head and neck in particular when using a flea comb.
  2. Maintain a clean indoor environment: Use borates and steam clean rugs and carpets. Vacuum your floors often and dispose of the vacuum bags afterwards to get rid of any fleas living inside the bag.Wash your pet's bedding once a week during flea season with hot water and dry on high heat to kill fleas and their eggs and larvae.
  3. Insect growth regulators: IGRs prevent fleas from reproducing and kill eggs or larvae before they can develop. IGRs come in many forms including oral pills, sprays, topicals and food additives.
  4. Flea bath: After being around other animals in a kennel, dog park, a yard or outdoor area, prevent possible infestations on your home by giving your dog or cat a flea bath before he comes inside the house.
  5. Medicated dips: Check with from veterinarian before using any medicated dip. These procedures can also be done in vet's office. If using the products at home, be sure not to get any in your animal's eyes or ears. Dips are usually used on dogs and not always recommended for cats. Check the labels and with your vet before applying.
  6. Topicals: These can be applied once a month and include Advantage, K9 Advantix, Frontline and Bio Spot. Again, make sure the ingredients are safe for your cat.
  7. Herbal flea powders: For a natural flea powder, combine eucalyptus, rosemary, rue, fennel, wormwood and yellow dock in equal amounts and sprinkle the powder mixture on your pet's coat, massaging it into the skin. This can be used several times a week for severe problems. Put your animal in the yard after applying the powder so fleas jump off outside and not in the house.
  8. Natural skin treatment: Add thin slices from one lemon, including the peel, to a pint of hot water, allowing it to steep overnight. The following day, sponge the mixture onto the animal's skin and allow it dry. Whole lemons contain natural flea-killing ingredients like d-limonene and can be used daily to control skin problems caused by fleas.
  9. Unrefined diatomaceous earth: In its unrefined form, this product is not toxic and can be used to kill insects while causing no harmful effects from direct skin contact with pets (or their owners). While wearing a mask to prevent irritation of nasal passages, sprinkle the earth in areas you can't reach with a vacuum like corners, under furniture and hard to reach nooks and crannies. Do not use the diatomaceous earth for swimming pool filters. It is too fine and can cause inflammation of the lungs.