Flea Control for Dogs and Cats

Learn how to protect your pets from parasites such as fleas, ticks, and worms, which can cause serious health problems. Learn why year-round preventive care and regular screenings are the best way to handle parasites like fleas. 


Every guest outstays its welcome at some point. For pets, fleas are the most common unwelcomed guests. These parasites attach themselves to the bodies of your dog or cat and suck their blood.

Fleas have become the most common parasite affecting not only your pets, but can affect humans as well. They’re also the number one cause of allergies among pets. If not treated properly, fleas can lead to a number of medical issues for your dog or cat.

Medical Issues Brought on by Fleas

Skin issues – Fleas can lead to allergic reactions, but can also give your dog or cat a skin infection. If your pet gets an infection, visit your veterinarian for special antibiotics.
Anemia – A flea infestation can increase the chance of anemia in your pet. The condition will lower his or her red blood cells, hurt the immune system and could make your pet more susceptible to other diseases. Young  pets are especially in danger of anemia caused by fleas.
Tapeworms – Your dog or cat could actually catch a tapeworm if they eat a flea while cleaning or licking him or herself. These parasites will then live in your pet’s intestines.
Possible Death – A very young puppy or kitten is actually small enough, even just a few fleas could suck enough blood to kill the small pet.

Detecting Fleas on Your Pet or in Your Home
You may not think your pet has fleas, unsure of where he or she picked up the parasite – but these pests could be living in your home for months without food. They could be hiding in your lawn, clothes, and furniture – waiting for a moment to spring into action.

If you notice small objects that look like white or tan rice on your pet you’ve got fleas. You may recognize a flea by its jump. These parasites can actually leap 3-feet high and 6-feet in distance. They’ll pounce onto your pet and start laying eggs. One female flea can actually lay 10,000 eggs!

Banfield’s Three-Part Plan For Getting Rid of Fleas

You can find plenty of products in the stores that say they get rid of fleas. However, even spraying insecticides isn’t effective long-term – fleas can develop a resistance after a few generations. The pet experts at Banfield have crafted their own three-part plan to ridding your life of fleas.

  1. Bathe Your Dog or Cat Regularly: The first big step to stay flea-free is to keep a clean dog or cat. Giving your pets a regular bath and shampooing thoroughly will help to keep parasites from turning them into a snack. You can even find shampoos made specifically to keep fleas away.
  2. Apply a Topical Medication: There are several good topical medications you can apply to your pet. Many will protect against ticks and mosquitos, as well.
    A majority of the medications are effective for one month, before you need to apply another round. You can apply it between your pet’s shoulder blades, keeping him and her from licking it off. If for any reason, your pet has an allergic reaction to the medication, contact your veterinarian.
  3. Keep Your Pet’s Environment Clean: The real battle against fleas comes down to killing those that aren’t on your dog or cat. For every one flea you find on a pet, 99 others are hiding in your home, car, or yard. There are several steps you can take to clean the environment.
    • Vacuum your home several times a week
    • Empty the vacuum, or eggs can hatch and fleas will crawl out
    • Vacuum and clean out your car if your pet rides in it
    • Launder your pet’s bed regularly
    • Clean the areas of your home where your pet spends the most time

If you have hard to reach areas in your home, consider hiring professional foggers or sprayers. You can also buy a yard spray to kill fleas hiding in the grass. Just make sure to follow the label guidelines to protect any children and pets.

Controlling fleas requires ongoing attention. Visit your local Banfield for recommendations on how best to treat fleas on your pet and in your home.

Learn More

If you need help with fleas or other pet health issues, call your local Banfield Pet Hospital to schedule and appointment with a veterinarian.

Ask our pet experts about our Optimum Wellness Plans. Each plan can be built around your pet’s specific needs for preventive health, but all plans come with unlimited free office visits and discounts on most Banfield products and services.

You can also learn more about pet health by visiting the Parasite Control section of our website. Browse through and learn about the “big three” parasites.