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Dog Vector

How to fight fleas at home – and win

Fleas can make life miserable and even make your pet seriously ill. Smart approaches to flea control, protection, and prevention can help your dog or cat do less itching and scratching, and enjoy more love, health and happiness – so talk to your veterinary team about the best approach for your cat or dogBFF.

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The best way to fight fleas is to repel them before they even get a chance to clamp their jaws on you or your pet. 

Top tips for foiling fleas   

 
A young veterinarian and a dog owner with her dog at the Banfield Pet Hospital

Step 1:

Prevent infestations by providing your pet with vet-recommended, year-round protection. Because every pet — and family —is different, ask your veterinary team what works best for your situation. 

Step 2:

Groom your pet regularly. This can help keep your cat or dog flea-free, plus help loosen up coat matting. Your veterinary team can also recommend shampoos to supplement your pet’s preventive routine.

A close-up of a dog owner's hands giving his dog a bath
Vector graphic of house cleaning supplies

Don’t forget to deep clean your house

Do a deep clean of your home where fleas love to lurk — because for every flea you find on a pet, 99 others are hiding in your home, car, or yard.

  • Scrub every pet’s bedding (or your bedding, if they sleep with you) in hot, soapy water 1-2 times a week.
  • Vacuum and clean all surfaces where your pet spends time. This could be carpets, rugs, sofa cushions, even your car.
  • Make sure to get into all sofa corners, cracks, floorboard crevices, and under furniture. Fleas love little nooks. 
  • After you vacuum, chuck that bag — or empty your canister — into a sealed outside bin.

Complete flea control involves treating both your pet and their environment. Fleas can go for months without food. And they’ll hide in your lawn, bedding, or furniture, just waiting for a chance to pounce. 

Vector graphic of prohibited home remedies

What about natural flea remedies for dogs and cats?

Some pet owners prefer to try “natural” flea remedies, like special food preparations, organic skin treatments, and home-made pesticides. Unfortunately, none of these approaches are proven to control parasites — and some can actually be toxic for your cat or dog.

 

Four big No's for fleas:

  • Garlic
    Garlic is toxic and potentially fatal to pets. Plus, there’s no scientific proof that garlic smell repels fleas.
  • Essential oils
    Coating your pet’s fur with essential oils is a bad idea. Even if the one you choose is used in some skin care products or shampoos, essential oils are just too concentrated for safe use on pet skin.
  • Traditional herbs
    Some herbs, like pennyroyal or eucalyptus, as well as brewer’s yeast, are sometimes promoted as good flea repellants. Unfortunately, pennyroyal is toxic to both pets and humans. And none of these “cures” have been shown to be particularly effective.
  • Sonic repellents
    You may see high-priced ultrasonic repellents being promoted as effective flea control. Don’t buy it. They aren’t effective in eliminating potential parasites on your pet, or in terminating any developing larval stages that may be growing around your home.

Never use any parasite-controlling product on your pet unless it’s specifically labeled for that use — and never use a product for dogs on cats.

A happy little dog sitting on a sofa next his owner, who is sleeping on the sofa

Feeling flea infested at home?

You can try an indoor pesticide. Carefully read and follow all instructions to help keep your family and four-legged friends safe. And if that still doesn’t work, a professional exterminator may be able to help.

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