(My disclaimer: All information found on this page is from my personal experience and what I see day to day. I have no formal qualifications or training and any info here should be taken as such. If you have pet medical issues always always consult your vet. I can not guarantee that the methods below will work for your pet.)

Fleas:

Here's the thing about fleas. They are resilient little buggers, totally my nemeses, and the biggest issue to dog and cat owners world wide! They are super hard to eradicate, an expensive problem to solve and a problem very likely to crop up again and again if you don't work the problem right. There are many many products out there that claim to solve flea problems, and a lot of them are probably great. But before you spend hundreds of dollars on things that probably won't work maybe spend 5 mins reading some tried and tested methods here and we can work together to solve the problem for good.

The biggest problem with eradicating a flea infestation is that they have such a short life cycle, which brings a very fast breeding cycle. a single adult female flea can lay up to or over 50 eggs PER DAY!!! That's if you have just 1 flea. Sheesh!! Fleas live primarily on dogs and cats and thrive in warm, moist environments (hence why wet weather brings fleas in droves). They feed primarily on the blood of their host. Their saliva contains an ingredient that softens (digests) the hosts skin for easier penetration and feeding, it is this saliva that causes the itching. Fleas lay their eggs on the host animal, where they hatch and feed off the droppings of the adult fleas. Flea eggs are not sticky and fall off the animal onto your floor boards, carpet or bedding. Here they feed on organic residues from the carpet, bedding or soil. Egg to Larva to Pupa to Adult flea is approx 2 weeks. Products that claim to kill all the adult fleas are great, but they are leaving all those eggs so in 2 weeks your back to square one.

The biggest trick is to do everything at once. This means your pets, your home, animal and human bedding and the outdoors.

INDOORS:
- Bomb bomb bomb. You can buy flea bombs from any supermarket or hardware store. They come in a 2 or 3 pack and cost from $10-$15. They provide flea control in the home for up to 3 months, providing no new fleas are introduced. I try and buy 1 pack each time I do my grocery shopping. That way by the time it comes to bomb the house I have stored enough to do it all at once. I try and bomb my home about every 2-3 months. Make sure you open all drawers and cupboard doors in each room but keep the main door closed to provide an enclosed area for the bomb to work. Have a bomb for each room of the house (I use 3 in my garage). even open all cupboards and drawers in your kitchen but keep the ones with food related items in them. Make sure you read all directions on the can. Plan to be out of the house for at least 2 hours. DON'T FORGET TO PUT YOUR PETS OUTSIDE, well away from any chemicals!!!
- Do the entire house. I can't begin to tell you how many people say to me 'but the dog doesn't come upstairs, why should I bomb up there?'. Well, just because your dog doesn't come upstairs doesnít mean the fleas don't! One pat of your dog, one flea jumps onto you, you go upstairs, flea jumps off and lays her 50 eggs.......Bomb everywhere guys. Everywhere.
- Wash your pets bedding. I only have bedding inside that can be put through he machine. Whether it's taking the covers off or putting the whole thing through. Make sure you wash them in hot water. It doesnít hurt to add a bit of disinfectant to the wash also. In between washes I spray my pets bedding with a disinfectant product like Glen 20. This helps to keep smells away too. This goes for your own bedding too. Maybe if you don't want to put them in the machine (I know pet hair sucks) you could soak them in a large bucket or bath tub? So long as they are totally emmersed long enough for fleas to drown you are helping.
- Flea Collars. Personally I do not find these very effective on an animal. They do however come in handy chopped up and put under, in or in-between pet bedding layers.
- Vacuuming. After you flea bomb is it very very important to vacuum...a lot!! You will be taking up any dead fleas, eggs, larvae, pupa and residues. If you leave any of these you are inviting the problem to come back. You donít want to spend all this time and money for nothing so do it right the first time.
- Mopping. Mop any uncarpeted areas with hot water, bleach and disinfectant. Do it more then once.

ON YOUR PETS:

DOGS:
- The problem with 'back of the neck' flea products is that they are very very hit and miss. If you are lucky you will find one that works for your pet, but most won't. And by the time you have found that special one you would have spent a bunch of money...or you won't realize it isn't working and you'll be throwing your $$$ down the toilet. There is a new product out called COMFORTIS and boy should they be paying me. I tell everyone about it. Why? Because IT WORKS!!! It is the same as the back of the neck products but it is in tablet form. This has advantages right off the mark such as not having to wait until days after a bath to apply, it wonít rub/wash off, it can't be licked off by another animal, can't get onto your kids hands etc etc. There is not one person I have told about this product who it hasn't worked for. NOT ONE!! It is gold and magic and I'll rave about it until I am out of breath. COMFORTIS. If you can, don't go to a pet shop or vet. Save money and go online. Literally Google 'cheap Comfortis' and see how much you can save. I used www.vetnpetdirect.com.au and saved about $20 inc postage. They also ship the same day so I had it 2 days later. THIS PRODUCT IS NOT FOR CATS.
- Garlic. Dogs love it. Fleas hate it. I tea spoon of minced garlic (not fresh, it's too strong. Go the el cheapo jar from Coles) in their dinner at night will work wonders. It's a $3 solution. It gets into their system, fleas hate it. You have to keep it up though as once it's out of their system (usually after not having it for 2 days) the fleas will come a runnin. Again this IS NOT for cats.
- Don't bother with Capstar. Capstar is specifically made for a situation such as 'You go to a friends house/the beach/camping and your dog picks up 1 or 2 adult fleas. You give them a Capstar to kill those 1 or 2 before they can lay eggs'. Capstar is brilliant for that situation, but that situation alone. I highly recommend it if that need does arise, but do not rely on it at any other time.

Cats:
- I use Advantix for my 2 boys. There is no Comfortis for cats as of yet (Jan 2011) so back of the neck product it is. I havenít used anything else as Advantix worked for me, so I can't give an opinion on any other product for cats. I can say right now that the cheaper products 'are what you pay'. Brands such as Exelpet and even sometimes Frontline are pretty much useless (in my personal opinion) and you are way better off spending a little extra to have a product thatís going to get the job done. Again, shop online. Vets and Pet shops mark flea products up considerably, I think mainly because they know people will pay whatever they ask. Google the product you are looking for. E.g. 'cheap Advantage' or cheap Sentinel'. You can't go wrong.

OUTDOORS:
- Supermarkets such as Coles now sell DIY outdoor pest sprays. They are between $15-$20 and I think wonderful. An exterminator can set you back hundreds and frankly who has that sort of money? Not me! Read the directions carefully, mostly taking note that you should not use if it is going to rain that day. Not only would that waste your product and money but also it would perhaps cause chemical run-off that could get to a storm drain.
- Keep the outside of your house clear of breeding grounds. This means no sand or dirt that isn't serving a purpose, not junk laying around, no garden waste etc
- Don't let your pets in places such as under your house. This is usually a main culprit for the breeding of most pests. Definitely get under there any spray your heart out if it's possible, but still don't let your pets under there. Block it off if you can. Even if your pets do not habit certain places, that doesnít mean that there isnít pests there that will come out on their own. I would definitely spray under there as often as you treat the house. The same goes for sheds, garden storage units, garages etc.


So here is your checklist. The things you are going to plan to do in a weekend. Plan also an activity to do outside the house such as shopping or a movie as your going to need to be out for at least 2-3 hours. The following is an example for a weekend treatment.

1- Buy your pet flea products and flea bombs
2- Sat: Brings pets inside and close all exterior door and windows.
3- Spray your DIY treatment around the perimeter of your home, in sheds and on all outdoor areas etc
4- Have your pets washed with top quality flea shampoo. Check for ticks at the same time
5- Put ALL pet beds through the washing machine. If not able, wash with an outdoor hose and disinfectant. Leave hanging all weekend.
5- Sun: Treat ALL pets with your choice of flea product
6- Place in the car everything you are going to need for your day out, inc handbag, kids items, car keys etc
6- Lock all pets outside (securely of course, we don't want any run aways) or take to a friends house for the day.
7- Put all human bedding through the machine
8- Pick up, put away and clean all items laying around. Anything you don't want chemicals to touch needs to be locked away.
9- You can do a pre-bomb vacuum but if you don't have time this isn't a must (you'll have some time while the loads of washing are being done).
10- Open all cupboards and drawers that are not holding kitchen items.
11- Turn off all electrical points in every room
12- Place a flea bomb in each room, remember to put a sheet of news paper or paper towel underneath.
13- Close all windows and doors in each room
14- Sequentially work your way through the house turning on the bombs and immediately leaving that room. Place a towel or old sheets etc under the door to trap chemical in. The longer the chemicals stay n the room the better chance you have of killing all the fleas.
- Work backwards so you are headed for the front door last

- When you get home 2-3 hours later, leave pets outside and collect all bombs. Dispose of as instructed on the can.
- Open ALL door and windows. You want as much air rushing through as possible. Even turn on ceiling fans or air con.
- It is fine to turn power points back on n ow
- Vacuum vacuum vacuum. Every room at least 2 times. Very very important. YOU DO NOT want to leave even a single egg, no matter how much chemical it has had!
- Mop all hard surfaces with disinfectant or bleach. Remember kids and pets are going to be playing on that floor tonight
- wipe over all benches and counters with disinfectant, especially the kitchen
- Lets your pets inside and enjoy your pest free home :-)

And that's it! It really is a great excuse for a spring clean too. You can get rid of clutter, maybe take unwanted items to charity, and have a flea free home at the same time. Flea bombs will also target any spiders, cockroaches, bugs etc hiding in your home as well.



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