How To Overcome Persistent Flea Infestations

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Pets fast become staple family members in our homes. Your kids probably love that puppy or kitten like a parent loves a child, and you’re pretty fond of it, too. And, as with any other member of the family, the chances are that you’d go above and beyond to keep your dog happy and healthy. You take them for regular checkups and watch what they eat for that exact reason.

No matter how much care you take of your pet, it always seems to have a continual flea infestation. It’s a headache many pet owners face, and it can cause real stress. After all, fleas do more than irritate. In fact, untreated, they leave your pet at risk to a whole host of issues, including:
  • Skin infections
  • Internal infections
  • Blood poisoning
  • Tape worms
  • Anemia

Our cats had a bad case of fleas after we let a stray who was infested with them into our home (ugh!). If you have an infestation issue, you need to address the issue as soon as you become aware of the problem. The trouble is, no matter how many vet’s visits or treatments you use, another flea makes itself known a week later. By this stage, you feel like you’re fighting a losing battle against those pesky parasites. Worse, your pet is struggling as a result, constantly scratching and uncomfortable.

Luckily, the best way to win this fight is to arm yourself with the knowledge of why this infestation keeps returning. That way, you’ll be able to take definitive action to put an end to things.

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You're applying ineffective treatments
If fleas return without pause between treatments, it’s possible your medicine isn’t working. As such, this is more an issue of persistent fleas, rather than recurring ones. The first thing to consider is whether you’re applying medicine correctly. Often, an incorrect application can lead to inefficiency, which would explain your problems. The issue is that many of us assume we know how to use these products without instructions. But, that’s a major no-no. Instead, take time to sit down and read things through. Make sure you know exactly where you should put this product on your pup. Then, apply a treatment correctly, and see if it makes a difference.

If not, another option is that the fleas in question are immune to the product you’re using. This is an issue among users of products like Frontline. While evidence is inconclusive, there have been suggestions fleas are developing immunity to critical ingredients in top brands. And, that makes sense when you consider how many people use these same products on their pets. Fleas are resilient, and they seem to be evolving with survival in mind. If you think this is the case, it’s worth looking out for a less popular brand which uses different ingredients. You might even want to opt for oral pills, which are less widely used and operate in very different ways. If you’re uncertain about how to proceed here, it’s worth talking to your vet. Even those who only offer Frontline may be able to point you in the right direction.

Something’s passing the infestation on
If there seems to be some pause between infestations, it’s a sign your dog keeps catching those fleas from somewhere. The issue here is that you can’t take action until you know where. Watch your pet closely while they’re outside to see what they come into contact with. It may be that you have a pest infestation you don’t know about. This is especially worrying because fleas from creatures like these could carry nasty diseases. Look out, then, for rats or raccoons around your garden. Don’t think that you’re immune here because you have a high or seemingly secure fence, either. Raccoons are excellent climbers and can easily scale even high fencing, while rats can squeeze between the tiniest gaps. So, don’t take the risk. Walk around your garden and look for signs of infestation. Animal droppings or other garden disturbances could be a sign this is where your problem lies. If you do spot anything which suggests a problem, don’t hesitate to call professionals who can help you. Then, take precautions to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen again.

Even if you can’t spot signs of infestation, it doesn’t mean your dog isn’t catching those fleas from somewhere. Stray cats are free roaming and will walk from one garden to the next in their neighborhood. While most cats avoid gardens with dogs, it may be that one is still brave enough to enter your pooch’s territory. And, an infested cat could pass those fleas on from even fleeting altercations. If you suspect this is the case, you may want to put higher fences or netting in place to keep any cats at bay.

Your house has an infestation 
If there are no neighborhood critters, it's entirely likely that the issue may be in your house itself. Too often, we assume that an infestation will come to an end when we treat our pets. In truth, though, fleas live up to 80% of their life cycle in our homes and backyards. As such, even treating your pet might not be enough to keep things clear. If you’re lucky and catch this early,  home treatment
should be enough to finally get rid of every flea in your house. The risk, of course, is that fleas have gotten into your interiors. In that case, it may take fairly extensive work to clear the infection. In the worst case, you may even have to get rid of offending furniture to save yourself further work. Once you’ve done that, though, one final pet treatment should be enough to ensure they stay flea free for the foreseeable future.

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