Fleas on our pets are such a big problem on the KZN south coast, so the 5 steps in managing fleas stem from the huge demand for a proper flea control programme. Pet owners can complain all they want, but fleas are here to stay. The only way we can combat them is by using proper, proven strategic flea treatment products. There are, however, households where the routine strategic product simply isn’t enough. The 5 steps in managing fleas will definitely help in those cases.
But first, I would like to introduce or stress the difference between tactical and strategic flea control.
Tactical flea control is where the pet owner only treats fleas as they arise. This can either be daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly, depending on many environmental factors and the owner’s ability to properly observe for fleas. Tactical flea control should only be used in combination with a strategic flea control program, if needed and never on its own.
Strategic flea control, on the other hand, is where the owner uses products with a known efficiency duration. If the product lasts for four weeks, it is re-applied every four weeks, whether the owner can spot fleas or not. Strategic flea control should be the basis of any flea control program.
The 5 steps in managing fleas
1) Treat all the household pets!
Many clients neglect the necessity of protecting all their pets from fleas. That includes dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, even if a pet does not “have fleas”. When your close neighbours have pets, theirs should be treated too. When one pet is not treated it serves as a “blood reservoir” for environmental fleas to be able to survive and reproduce.
2) Use strategic flea control as a basis
3) Follow the instructions carefully
Common instructions that are not followed include incorrect application, bathing suggestions and frequency (or infrequency) of application.
All top spot flea treatment products should be applied in one or two spots on the skin (not on the hair) between the shoulder blades to prevent licking. The general rule when using top spots is that the pet should not be bathed three days before and/or three days after the application. These products need the natural oils of the skin to be absorbed into the bloodstream of the pet. Oral tablets should generally be given with food.
4) Treat the environment
According to the life cycle of fleas, the adult fleas that you see on your pets only make up 5% of the total infestation. In addition to pet treatment, for an effective, holistic, flea control programme, it is advisable to use an environmental treatment as well.
Products such as Ultrum Duration Aerosol or Flego Aerosol can be used to spray in hard-to-reach places such as cracks and crevices, blankets and inside dog kennels. Caution must be taken not to spray directly on animals or their food and water or near fish.
Calling in exterminators, using foggers, vacuuming carpets and washing your pet’s bedding will also help.
5) Use tactical flea control as backup
Tactical flea treatment products are usually used for their “knock down” effect, rather than their durability. These products mainly include Capstar, flea shampoos, dips and powders. Many owners give Capstar or bath an animal with a treatment shampoo only when they spot fleas.
Products that can be used include, for example. Ultrum Plus Dog Shampoo and Frontline spray.