Those with indoor-outdoor pets have probably at least occasionally discovered fleas and ticks in their home or on their dog or cat. Ticks can harbor disease and fleas can make pets uncomfortable and eventually cause skin disorders. For this reason, it is important to implement adequate flea and tick control measures to stop such problems before they escalate.
Preventing Flea and Tick Invasions
Regularly vacuuming all areas of the home to which the pet has access is a simple but effective way to prevent flea and tick infestations. The pet’s bedding, pillows, furniture, area rugs, carpets and bare floors should be thoroughly cleaned. It is also important to remember hard-to-reach areas, such as closet floors, and the carpet under furniture and beds.
After these areas are cleaned, a light dusting of food grade diatomaceous earth–DE– should be applied to pet bedding, bare floors and carpets. However, it is important to choose food grade DE and not the type designed for use in swimming pools, as the latter is toxic to animals and humans.
In addition to DE, pet owners may also wish to use cedar oil, which repels both ticks and fleas and can be applied to pet bedding and the surrounding environment, as well as the pets themselves.
If possible, pet owners should designate a specific sleeping area for their dog or cat, preferably one that is easy to clean. This is because fleas tend to accumulate in areas where pets sleep, and therefore if they can be eliminated at that point in time, controlling the situation becomes easier in the future.
Another great remedy to eliminate fleas at the larval stage is sodium polyborate, which can be purchased in powder form and apply directly to wood and carpets. However, children and pets should be kept from the room for about two hours after the product is applied. One application of sodium polyborate will last approximately a year unless the carpets are steam cleaned.
Additional products can be purchased at one’s local veterinarian, such as flea bombs, and flea and tick sprays that can be used via a pump to lightly coat the interior of the home. Most products of this type have a residual effect of up to 90 days. This ensures that the entire flea and tick cycle is broken.
It is also essential to treat one’s dog or cat simultaneously so that fleas and ticks are not reintroduced to the treated areas of the home. A flea dip can be scheduled at any local animal hospital.
If the aforementioned tips are followed and fleas and ticks are still a problem, a pest-control specialist should be called. Such individuals have experience with flea and tick control and have additional products at their disposal that can be utilized to eliminate pests of this kind. Anyone who suspects an infestation is underway should contact a professional as soon as possible.