Practically the worst hindrance to having pets in the house is the fact they can bring in fleas. But so can humans. Fleas can jump on you when you're in the yard and hitchhike a free ride into your home where they multiply like crazy. In less than a week, you could discover a full blown flea infestation has taken over.
Selling a house where pets live has its own unique set of problems without having to deal with fleas. Now, you might not even notice when your dog or cat seems to be scratching a lot more than usual. But you will notice when the fleas bite you. By then, it's too late.
Are Fleas in the House?
- The first place to look for fleas is on your pet. When you part the hair, fleas will run the other direction and hide. It might be hard to find the fleas without using a special flea comb.
Flea combs are easy to use, but you need to be prepared to dispose of any live fleas that get trapped in the teeth of the comb. So, here's what you do:
- Start with your pet's head, near the ears. Also check near the tail or under the arms (legs).
- Quickly run the comb backwards through the fur.
- Then before the fleas have a chance to spring loose, immediately dip the comb into a bowl containing a solution of liquid dish soap mixed into a small amount of water.
- Any fleas that were trapped in the teeth will die in the soapy water.
- Repeat for as long as your pet will tolerate you dragging a wet comb through his or her fur.
Spotting Fleas On You
Put on a pair of white knee-highs and walk around in your stocking feet. For some reason, fleas are attracted to white clothing. Plus, they are much easier to see against a white background.
Flea Control for your Pets
Combing out fleas is a temporary measure. Your best bet is to kill the fleas that are present on your pet and kill those that hop aboard later. I know of two great products, Frontline and Advantage, that not only get rid of fleas but keep them from coming back for at least three weeks. However, once the flea infestation in your home is under control, it might take a couple more treatments to kill the remaining fleas and those that hatch.
How to Apply Frontline / Advantage
Simply puncture the tube of flea control and squeeze the contents. It's best to apply at the back of your pet's head, near the base of the neck, in a spot where your pet can't lick or scratch it. Part the hair until you can see skin and apply the treatment in that spot.
Flea Control for the House
- You can try foggers, but you will probably need one for each room.
- They are flammable, so turn off all pilot lights.
- Remove birds and fish.
- It's toxic, so don't breathe the fumes.
- Protect surfaces by placing the fogger on a newspaper.
- Leave the house undisturbed a minimum of two hours or as directed.
- Thoroughly air out before introducing small children or vulnerable animals to the environment.
A safer and more environmentally friendly product, which I have personally found to be highly effective, is called Fleabusters. The product is a powder.
- Remove all bedding - wash or dry clean.
- Thoroughly vacuum all carpeting and rugs.
- Sprinkle powder inside sofa cushions, along the perimeter of all the walls and cover your floor area with it.
- Scratch or brush into the carpet.
- Vacuum excess and at least two to three times a week.
- Discard vacuum cleaner bags.
Flea Control for the Yard
There are a number of yard products available.
- Attach product to your garden hose and spray thoroughly all affected areas.
- Do not spray near flowers or vegetables.
- Repeat as required.
It may seem like a lot of extra work, but if you apply flea control products on your pets at least once a month for two or three months, and aggressively treat the house and yard, your flea problem should disappear -- provided you do not continually bring more fleas into the house.
At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, DRE # 00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.