wiry dog looks at camera

How to Get Rid of Fleas

Fleas on your dog or cat can be extremely dangerous. Some dogs are severely allergic to fleas, and just one bite can trigger an allergic reaction that can last for weeks. Fleas also can cause anemia with small dogs, puppies and kittens when they are constantly biting. Tapeworms are transmitted through fleas after your dog or cat has ingested the flea. With so many threats to your pet’s health, it is essential to use a flea preventative. If you forget to use preventative or the flea infestation is so severe that the preventative is unable to kill all of them, be sure to handle the flea problem on your pet quickly.

How to Spot Fleas

Since adult fleas make up only about 5% of the flea population, it can be difficult to spot a flea infestation. If your dog or cat suddenly begins scratching, this may be an indication your pet has fleas. To confirm fleas are the culprit, check for flea dirt on your pet’s skin. Flea dirt is essentially flea feces and can best be seen easiest on your pet’s stomach, at the base of the tail, or on her favorite bed as tiny, dark specks. A flea comb can also be used to locate flea dirt and adult fleas on your dog or cat. Make sure the fine-toothed flea comb touches your the skin as you brush, and any fleas or debris will be caught in the comb. This method works best for dogs with shorter coats.

How to Get Rid of Fleas

Getting rid of fleas on your dog or cat and in your home and yard can be challenging. That’s why we recommend using a flea preventative to kill pests before they multiply. Whether you choose a monthly topical, flea collar, or natural spray, consider what the best option is for each pet.

Topical prevention is one of the more common options. Products such as K9 Advantix II and Petlock use an ingredient that employs the natural oils on your dog’s skin and coat to spread the active ingredients, covering your dog’s entire body. These products are applied to a small area on your dog’s neck once a month. There are many topicals on the market for dogs, but we’ve found that most aren’t as effective as the two brands mentioned above. One of the many reasons we recommend these products is that they not only kill pests, but also repel them. Other topicals and ingestible preventatives require the flea or tick bite the dog before they die.

It is very important to note that dog flea treatments are unsafe for use on cats. Certain dog topical treatments are also unsafe for cats to come into contact with on your dog, typically during a 48 hour period after initial application. Be careful when selecting a treatment for your pets, especially when you have both dogs and cats who groom or interact with each other. Cat specific topical preventatives, such as Advantage II and Petlock II for Cats, are effective as monthly preventative solutions for your feline family members.

Flea collars are another option but 90% of the products on the market are not effective. The only flea collar we at Hollywood Feed trust is the Seresto collar by Bayer. This collar has active ingredients infused into the plastic during production. Others are dipped or powdered on the collar and don’t protect the entire pet or last very long. The Seresto collar is effective for up to 8 months and uses the same ingredient as topicals to spread protection across your dog’s entire body. Most other flea collars on the market only protect within a small area around the collar.

Flea sprays are another option but can be time consuming. The sprays should be sprayed directly onto your dog, and while you don’t have to soak him, you do need to thoroughly cover your entire dog with spray and rub it in for it to be effective. Sprays usually last for 24 – 48 hours. If your dog has fleas, his bed and living space has fleas and flea larvae and eggs. It’s important to treat the dog’s bed, the area around the dog’s living space, your couches, rugs, curtains, etc. to rid your home of fleas and flea eggs and prevent the infestation from occurring again. There are also options for your pet, home, and yard that aren’t all natural, such as Advantage and Petlock, that will last longer and require less applications.

Shampoos are often effective at removing fleas that a dog currently has on him, but usually have no residual effects past 24-48 hours. Work the shampoo into a lather over your dog’s entire body, using caution around his eyes and ears, and leave on for the recommended amount of time before rinsing.

Should You Treat the Yard for Fleas?

If you are dealing with fleas on your dog and in your home, more than likely you also have a flea infestation in your yard. Therefore, it’s best to treat both your home and yard to get rid of pesky fleas for good.

Yard sprays are an effective way to kill and repel fleas outdoors. Most sprays attach to your garden hose for easy application. Most gallon sized yard sprays up to 5,000 square feet, so you are often able to use multiple times depending on the size of your yard. You’ll want to cover your entire yard and pay close attention to areas under bushes and trees where fleas and ticks like to hide. Bayer makes an effective, easy-to-use spray that lasts up to a month and kills and repels fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and other pests. With the Advantage Yard & Premise Spray, you’re able to treat up to 16,000 square feet.

For an all-natural yard spray, Wondercide uses cedar oil as the active ingredient to kill fleas and ticks on contact. Wondercide Yard Flea & Tick Spray will cover up to 4,000 square feet using no artificial colors, fragrances or synthetic pesticides.

Treating your yard in addition to using a spray carefully indoors and flea preventative for your dog will ensure fleas die and do not return. Spray your pet’s bedding with an indoor specific treatment, like Petlock Flea and Tick Indoor Home Spray, to ensure you’ve killed all adult fleas. For indoors, be persistent with vacuuming and washing your dog’s bedding and toys for multiple weeks to make sure flea eggs, larvae and pupae are being eliminated too. 

Make Sure You Kill All Life Stages of Fleas

Fleas can be tough to get rid of when there’s a serious infestation in your home or yard. It’s crucial that you take a comprehensive approach as quickly as you can to prevent the flea population from multiplying rapidly. Make sure you treat your pets, home, and yard, and retreat everything within three weeks’ time to ensure you’ve gotten the adult fleas and flea eggs.

brown dog looking up at camera, scratching face

Natural Flea and Tick Remedies: Do They Work?

Natural flea remedies for dogs can work well but require additional application time compared to other methods. For those concerned about using synthetic pesticides in their home and yard and on their dog, the extra time is a worthwhile trade off for the peace of mind an all-natural flea treatment brings.

Why Use Natural Flea and Tick Products?

While topicals such as Advantix and Advantage and collars like Seresto work well to prevent flea and tick infestations, some dogs and cats may be sensitive to the chemicals used in these and other synthetic preventatives. As an alternative, all-natural sprays, collars, and shampoos are options for pets with sensitive skin.

Some pet parents may also be concerned about their children being exposed to the harsh chemicals used in some topical and collar preventatives and are opting for a natural approach. Others might be concerned what the long-term effects of year-round use of these chemicals on their pets could be.

Are All-Natural Flea and Tick Preventatives Effective?

Using an all-natural preventative requires more application time than the standard monthly approach. Many all-natural preventatives use cedar oil as the pest repellent. This will not stay on your dog’s coat for longer than a couple of days, so reapplication every 24 – 48 hours is required. If your dog or cat is not playing outside in areas that haven’t been treated for fleas and ticks and instead spends most of the day lounging on the couch, reapplication does not have to occur as often.

Best All-Natural Preventatives

Wondercide Flea & Tick Spray is made in the USA from human food-grade ingredients and is safe for children. To prevent pests, you will need to apply every 2 – 3 days by rubbing your dog’s coat in the opposite direction of growth, spray, and rub in. If your dog enjoys swimming, you will need to reapply after your dog’s coat is dry. If you take your dog to an area other than your yard or any place that has been treated, you will want to reapply. Wondercide’s sprays are gentle enough to be used several times a week.

Wondercide also lists what ingredients are used in their products and where those ingredients come from on their website. Everything is USA sourced and made and all packaging is biodegradable and recyclable.

Ready to make the switch to all-natural preventatives? Stop in to one of our locations and ask a Feed Team member to show you all the options available.