Three Rings of a Flea Circus

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We all love the circus, but NOT when it’s a flea circus! Did you know that fleas can jump up to 7” vertically & up to 13” horizontally? That makes fleas one of the best “jumpers” of all known animals. What that means to you & your favorite four-legger is that fleas are a force with which to reckon! The reason we’re calling it the “Three Rings of The Flea Circus” is because there are three separate areas that require treatment to ensure that your prevention program is up to speed. If you’ve ever dealt with a flea infestation, you will agree that prevention is way better than needing to start a treatment protocol! Remember, if you wait until you see a flea, you waited too long.

Ring 1 - Your Pet

You’re not the only one that loves your pet... fleas do too! With the plethora of products available, how do you decide which one is right for your dog? The best product for your pet may depend on your lifestyle, your geographical location & even the age of your pet. Flea shampoos have been around for many years & are a great way to “start” the season, especially if you’re going to be using a topical, a collar, or an oral treatment. Adams® Flea & Tick Shampoo, Advantage® Treatment Shampoo, & Espree® Flea & Tick Shampoo are just a few that you will find on Jeffers' website.

After a good flea bath, now it’s time for the next step. If you choose to use a topical flea prevention, that can include spot-ons (drops), sprays or wipes. If you’re using a spot-on, make sure that you are applying the liquid directly onto the skin by parting your pet’s hair. Product that’s applied to the hair will be ineffective, as it has to be absorbed into the skin. The majority of topicals contain, as the main active ingredient, either Imidacloprid (as in Advantage® II) or Fipronil (as in Frontline® Plus/Gold). Both of these products & their generics also contain IGR’s (insect growth regulator) such as (s)-methoprene or pyriproxyfen. If you’ve been using a spot-on & it seems to be less effective, try a different product that has a different main active ingredient. It’s not unusual for insects to build up a resistance to chemicals after they’ve been used for a period of time.

Oral treatments such as Advantus® Soft Chews or Capstar® are formulated to begin killing fleas very quickly & to work for 24 hours. These can be used daily, however, they are generally meant for a quick “knockdown” to be followed up with a collar or topical.

NexGard, Bravecto, Simparica & Trifexis are just a few of the monthly oral flea treatments that require a prescription. Jeffers does not sell prescription products & recommends that you talk with your veterinarian.

Flea & tick collars have come a long way, baby! The new generation has said “goodbye” to the powdery, greasy, smelly, & honestly, ineffective collars of years gone by. My personal favorite is the Seresto® Flea & Tick collar. It offers 8 months of protection using a unique combination of active ingredients that are infused within the collar & are released in low concentrations over time. Seresto® collars are waterproof & unaffected by swimming or bathing. Bayer does not recommend removing the collar for bathing or swimming as it may disrupt the continuous flow of chemicals.

Many other “next generation” flea & tick collars contain either Tetrachlorvinphos or Deltamethrin as their active ingredients. These products also contain IGR’s to break the life cycle of these pesky little “jumpers.”

Ring 2 - Your Home

When thinking about flea prevention, we have to be careful that we don’t forget about treating your home. Remember that the fleas you see on your pet are just the tip of the iceberg. Only 5% are adult fleas that we can see. The remaining 95% is made up of immature fleas (eggs, larvae & pupae) hidden in your home. This is what makes prevention in your home essential. If your pet has fleas (even if you’ve just “seen” one or two) your home has them as well. Fleas & flea eggs go wherever your pet goes. One flea can lay up to 50 eggs in a day, & in just over a month she can release over 2,000 eggs! Favorite hiding spots are:

  • deep in carpet
  • under furniture
  • in bedding (yours and your pet's)
  • under baseboards

This spring, you can begin the end to the flea circus by cleaning your house. Start by vacuuming floors, carpets, furniture & area rugs. When finished, immediately discard vacuum bags, outside in the trash, in a bag that you can tie & toss. If you use a canister vacuum, empty the canister (outside) into a bag that you can tie & throw away. Otherwise the flea eggs can hatch & come right back into your home. Wash all your pet’s bedding, including covers & inserts, in hot water. Wash your family bedding in hot water as well as bathroom rugs & throw blankets. Basically any place your pet likes to sleep or relax.

Advantage® Household Spot & Crevice Spray is perfect for inside your home & the Advantage® Carpet & Upholstery Spot Spray or the Adams® Plus Flea & Tick Carpet Spray are just a couple of products you can use to treat your carpeted areas.

Ring 3 - Outside

It’s as important to treat the outside of your home as it is to treat the inside. Fleas & ticks are living in lawns & backyards, just waiting for a walking “meal.” Many outdoor premise sprays, such as the Advantage® Yard & Premise Spray or the FLEE® Yard Spray come with a garden hose attachment so that you can easily & quickly treat your outdoor living spaces.

If you prefer a more natural method of flea control around the home & yard, Natural Chemistry® has a line of products that may be just the “ticket” (to end the circus). The BioCare® Flea Trap & the Victor Ultimate Flea Trap are products that use light & heat to attract adult fleas, with a sticky pad to prevent the fleas from escaping. Both work extremely well, but remember those adults are only 5% of the population.

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