Pets

Dr Chris Brown on how to flea the scene

It’s hard to get a handle on the tiny pests, but Dr Chris Brown tells how to get rid of fleas in the house, whether they are on your dog or in your back yard, fast.

By Sarah-Kate Lynch

You may be super-vigilant about fending off fleas, but the feisty parasites that infest the coat and skin of our furry friends can still find a way to survive and thrive.

Fleas might sometimes seem like an insurmountable enemy, however, they can be beaten! Bondi vet Dr Chris Brown tells us how.

Getting rid of fleas

Only five percent of the fleas in your house actually live on your pets. The remaining 95% are lying in wait (often as flea eggs or larvae) in your garden, carpets, rugs, pet’s bed or even your bed. You won’t beat a major infestation by only treating your pets. You need to hit the fleas hard and everywhere!

Get rid of fleas in your house

✦ Vacuum every day where possible
✦ Clean and air bedding and floor coverings weekly
✦ Use flea bombs that penetrate all corners of your house

Don’t create safe havens for fleas

Almost every home has a cosy place where fleas can escape to and go undetected. And all too often it’s a place where our pets love to hide as well. It might be an old, furry rug in the spare room, an overgrown corner of the garden, a damp sandpit or the space under the house.

Get rid of fleas in the garden

✦ Mow grass short
✦ Remove weeds
✦ Dry out sandpits (rake the sand regularly and make sure it has good drainage)

Alternate flea drugs to avoid resistance

This is a pretty controversial topic – many pet owners are now convinced some flea treatments don’t work as well as they used to. And it’s becoming increasingly difficult to disagree. The fact is, parasites over time develop a resistance to any drug, including flea treatments. The key is to be smarter.

Back off bathing

You might think you’re doing the right thing by bathing your pet every week or letting them swim every day. But all that water actually plays into the fleas’ hands. A lack of humidity and moisture can kill fleas, so keeping your pet dry is a good idea. And since the flea treatments sit in the skin oils, any water will wash them away.

Even products that claim to be waterfast can still be affected.

Flea drugs and medication

✦ If you’ve been using the same product without good results, switch to something new. Ask your vet for advice on the best treatments
✦ Use one product for a month and a new product the next so you keep fleas guessing!
✦ Make sure you use the product exactly as the instructions say

Avoid letting your pets get wet

✦ Avoid unnecessary swimming or bathing when your pet has a flea problem
✦ Wait 48 hours after a bath before you apply treatments
✦ Use fortnightly treatments if your dog swims a lot

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