Having an flea infestation can be overwhelming can't it?
Or maybe you are looking ahead and planning. Fact is the weather is becoming steadily warmer.
Unfortunately, this means that our fur babies will inevitably bring us unwanted friends - the common flea.
I have had a couple of horrendous experiences of fleas, that has helped me formulate this plan for getting rid of fleas from your house.
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If you're curious or in a hurry:
Indorex flea spray in my opinion, is the best to get rid of fleas from a house fast.
Also for pet flea treatment buy:
Dogs and cats' skin can become infected, so clean bites and irritation with:
Bath towels for your pet's bed (that you are not worried about washing at 60 degrees).
Remove fleas with a great vacuum cleaner:
Fleas on dog and cats - What to look for
In order to figure out whether you have fleas in your house, you need to have a close look at your pet for the following signs of fleas.
Frequent scratching or biting.
Itching – my dog whipped around to scratch and bite. Sometimes he would yelp if it really itched.
Bites and irritation around warmer areas – ears,bottom, in the creases of the leg, around the tail.
Red patches of skin
Fur loss in bad cases
Black and white salt and pepper-like grains in pet beds or anywhere the pet has been lying.
Visible sight of small insects that jump when disturbed.
Visible sight of small black specks in the fur
Frequent scratching or biting
One of the signs of fleas that your dog or cat will show, is when you notice them regularly scratching or even biting at their skin.
My cavvy Jasper mostly used to bite around his tail.
It’s important to get your pet treated as soon as possible with a flea treatment.
Speaking from experience, when I didn’t know what the problem was with Jasper, I ran up bills of £100-200 a time, treating his skin, because it had become infected and sore.
Poor Jas also was in a lot of pain, because I didn’t act quick enough to get rid of the fleas fast the first time.
I initially thought it could be diet or a skin condition, but as soon as he and the house was treated with an effective flea treatment, he settled down.
Another clear way an animal gives away that it has fleas, is obvious and dramatic movements caused by itching.
The main sign my dog showed that he had fleas, was awkward whipping and spinning around to scratch and bite his tail.
Sometimes he would yelp if it really itched.
This would be followed by ten minutes of desperately trying to get rid of the fleas himself, by scratching.
Again, this can be mistaken for a skin condition.
Flea bites and irritation around the warmer areas
Check out your animal for signs of a flea infestation.
Fleas like warm moist areas like under and around the ears, around the animal’s bottom and tail and in the creases of their legs.
They feed on blood from the animal, so look for warm, sheltered areas to feed.
Their bites will be red and the animal will have already scratched them, because they are extremely itchy.
Hibiscrub is amazing at halting the infection from flea bites.
Excessive licking is a sign of fleas on a cat or dog
Another sign your pet has fleas is excessive licking.
Both my cat Sammy and dog Jasper have done this is in the past.
Now I know to treat Sammy straight away, because this is her particular signal to me that a flea outbreak is about to happen.
If you have a cat and a dog, chances are the cat will bring the fleas every time. This is is what I found every flea season!
Red patches of skin
When a pet has had a flea infestation for a few days, you might notice red patches of skin appearing.
This is because flea bite saliva can be a source of irritation to some animals’ skin.
Fur loss in some cases of a bad flea infestation
Depending on allergies and how bad the infestation is, you might notice patches of fur loss on your pet.
This could be as a result of your animal biting the bitten area, or as result of further skin infection.
It has never happened to my pets, but I would be straight to the vets if I noticed this, as you would need veterinary advice.
Flea faeces in the fur
Another of the signs your pet has fleas, is if you find grainy deposits in their bed or anywhere they have been lying.
They look like a mixture of salt and pepper grains.
My cat Sammy loves to relax for long periods of time on our bed. When she has fleas, I can see these mixed grains stuck to her fur and it also comes off onto the bed clothes.
Visible sight of small insects
Look on your animal’s fur, especially around the ears.
You might see a small insect, that if you disturb it, with jump away.
(Yes, the first time I had a flea infestation in my house, they were large enough to do this with – my poor cat Tabby!)
They appear a slightly browny yellowish colour, but are slightly transparent also.
How to get rid of fleas in your house
My top household spray that kills fleas dead is called Indorex.
Fleas are resilient little creatures - they will wait until it is warm enough and hatch from their eggs.
A few simple steps will kill fleas over the long term, but you have to bear in mind, that this is a cycle and it demands daily cleaning for 2-3 weeks, to ensure a re-infestation doesn't happen again.
Time and time again, I used cheaper product, that you can pick up from the local supermarkets and they just didn't work. Either that, or the infestation seemed to calm down, but the spray didn't work on the eggs or flea nymphs.
Benefits of Indorex
- It works quickly. Recently I used in it an infested empty rental house that I was renovating and it worked first time. (On the first day of working in that house, I had 30 bites around my ankles! It worked in one day)
- It lasts for 12 months (It kills the fleas as they hatch and denatures eggs)
- One bottle is enough for an average 3 bedroomed house
- It kills dust mites. (If you suffer from dust allergy, it will also kill and control the development of dust mites)
Cons of Indorex
- It is harmful to pets when sprayed. You need to make sure that all pets are out of the room you are treating (including fish) until the spray is dry.
- It is harmful to breathe in As with all potent chemicals, you need to spray the recommended amount in each room, and ventilate the room for at least half and an hour before spending time in the room again.
- It is more expensive than some household pet sprays. Yes, but the others I found didn't work, so buy more expensive and only buy once.
Indorex is my go to product, and as a landlord, I can't recommend this highly enough - it has been successfully used by myself in 4 of my rental houses.
Result - happy tenants!
What is best for getting rid of fleas on my cat?
In my opinion the best flea treatment for cats is a spot on treatment, called Bravecto.
This is, according to the vet, is the most effective flea treatment on the market.
I regularly check with the vet, even if I don't buy from them. They tend to know what products have been deemed ineffective. Fleas become resistant to treatments very quickly.
Bravecto is not the cheapest, but my vet assures me that brands such as Bob Martin and Frontline now no longer work.
You will have to purchase this through a pet drug website like the one I have linked this article to.
They will ask you to fill in a short form about your pet, for their records.
I have found them usually to be 50% cheaper than buying from the vet direct.
How to get rid of dog fleas
Bravecto I think, is the best flea treatment for dogs. This is easier to give because it comes in the form of a tasty, chewable biscuit.
Jasper, my dog could go three months without scratching using Bravecto, so the price tag of around £20 was worth it. (At the vets, you will pay around £40!)
This is especially worth thinking about if your dogs are regularly groomed, bathed or like to play in water.
If they do, you will find yourself paying more money having to re-apply the spot-on treatments after they are washed off.
On one occasion Jasper ran up a bill for £150, just because he had bitten a flea bite and it had become infected. So well, well worth it!
Advantages of using Bravecto for dogs
- Easier to apply. A chewable squishy biscuit instead of applied on the fur.
- It lasts for at least 3 months This is a win - you really want to have a long lasting product when breaking the flea cycle in your house.
- Doesn't need reapplying if the dog has been in water. It was costing me a small fortune previously, as I had to keep reapplying Jasper with new flea spot-on.
- Cheaper over time. If your pet is protected for longer, they are far less likely to need to visit the vet with infected bites, that they have scratched. One bill was £150 all-in!
Disadvantages of using Bravecto for dogs
- Expensive It is more expensive than other treatments.
- Your dog might not like the taste Scientists have designed this squishy biscuit to look, smell and taste attractive, but there could always be a dog that doesn't like the biscuit.
- You need to pick up a prescription from your vet. This could be a pain, if you have a hectic schedule. (I argue though that the time, you would save cleaning and taking your pet to the vet, because the flea infestation has not been stopped, will waste so much more of your time). Once you have your prescription, you can use it as many times as you need - they usually last 12 months.
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What cleaning do I need to do to get rid of fleas?
Use Indorex flea spray
- Spray around the edges of the rooms in your house. If you are doing more than one room at at time, make sure you go out of the house. The fumes from a household flea spray can be overpowering.
- Make sure all the windows are open and animals are not able to go inside. The fumes should have settled down within a hour to an hour and a half.
- At that point I would vacuum the room, concentrating around all the edges and wooden architraves, as fleas lay their eggs around the edges of the room, in little nooks and crannies.
Top tip - also spray inside the vacuum canister/bag, so that any fleas sucked into the vacuum aren't able to breed also.
Use the flea spray on beds and wash bedding
- Use the flea spray on your pet's bed, if it is not washable at 60 degrees Celsius.
- Put pet bedding outside to ventilate. It is important that the bed is dry, before you let your pet back near the bed.
- If your pet regularly sleeps on your bed, strip the bed down and spray the mattress. When dry, turn and repeat on the underside. Again, do not use until you are sure the spray has dried.
- With washable bedding, check it will withstand 60 degrees Celsius. At this temperature, fleas, dustmites and their eggs are denatured. This means that they die and are the eggs are no longer able to hatch in warmth.
- Wash all pet towel, bedding and all household bedding, and mattress/pillow protectors at this temperature. If you can was the duvet and pillows, I wouldn't hesitate, as you know you have covered all bases.
Consider changing your pet bedding completely to combat fleas
I personally found it easier when I changed my dog's bedding to being easier to clean and keep flea free long term.
- I changed his bed to a plastic bed. Plastic beds are wipe-clean and won't damage when you spray with flea spray.
- To go in his plastic bed, I bought two dark coloured bath towels that I could wash at 60 degrees in the washing machine. The dark colour meant that dirt wasn't easily seen. I got a two pack, so while one was in the wash, the other could be put into Jasper's bed.
Treating your home for fleas
If you can vacuum daily, I would thoroughly recommend this.
This will ultimately break the flea hatching cycle, and remove the remains, as they hatch.
It will also remove newly laid eggs, so less and less critters actually hatch as time goes on.
This is a tough job ,but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
You need a good vacuum, that will do the job without wearing you out completely. My recommendation is the Vax Blade 2. It has never let us down, is wireless and lasts long enough to vacuum the whole house, when we are keeping fleas at bay.
Advantages of the Vax Blade 2 for getting rid of fleas
- It is lightweight, so you won't feel exhausted after vacuuming the whole house.
- It is flexible - it has a really efficient pet hair attachment that grabs the fleas efficiently out of fabrics and on the stairs.
- It reaches everywhere - fleas usually live in nooks and crannies. They have nowhere to hide.
- It is easy to empty - the Vax Blade 2 is bagless, and the compartment is really easy to detach and empty. My suggestion would be to spray the inside of the compartment with flea spray, so it kills any fleas inside the cleaner itself.
Disadvantages of the Vax Blade 2 for getting rid of fleas
- The compartment that you have to empty sometimes gets clogged with pet hair, and you can't just shake the contents into the bin. A quick solution for this is to use a screwdriver to pull the contents round and out.
Overall, we have been amazed with the performance of this sturdy little cleaner.
Other considerations to think about when you have a flea infestation
Fleas can be vicious when they bite. When I see Sammy my cat scratching, I always check her for any bites that she has already.
Trust me, this will save you a fortune in vet's bills for an infected bite. I use Hibiscrub to clean and disinfect the wound. Hibiscrub can also be used on dogs and a variety of other animals. This will help your pet deal with the discomfort of bites already there.
Some sites that fleas tend to bite the most:
- around the ears
- around the paws
- around the tail
- anywhere warm - in the crook of the legs (armpits)
Take care of yourself when getting rid of fleas
Look after your skin whilst cleaning and using flea spray
I recommend you invest in a thick but caring pair of rubber gloves, that you can use as general pet gloves when you have broken the flea cycle.
Benefits of flock-lined rubber gloves
- they don't make your hands sweat - you will be wearing these gloves for longer than normal.
- they are durable but comfortable
- these gloves are reasonably priced for the extra comfort.
- they are thicker and will protect your hands against the dust, flea dirt, fleas (potential bites) and from the chemicals in the flea spray.
Skin care if you already have flea bites
When I recently renovated a rental house, within 2 hours I had around 20 flea bites around my ankles. It drove me absolutely potty, until I bought a bottle of camomile lotion and applied this twice a day. Camomile lotion soothes the skin and makes it a lot easier to deal with the itch.
When you are cleaning the house, I suggest you wear old clothes that cover you from head to toe.
Fleas are hungry creatures, so to minimise the bites, use longer sports socks like these, and pull them up over your trousers. Fleas love ankle skin, but this will save your ankles!
When you are done cleaning, I suggest taking what you were wearing and washing it on as high a temperature as possible, so you are not transporting fleas around.
Flea infestations can be awful.
But just remember..
With bad flea infestations, it's usually as you are about to lose your mind, that..
the flea cycle breaks,
you stop getting bitten
and best of all, your pet becomes more at ease too.