Summer is here! That means you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors, hopefully. Your pets are probably going to get in on the fun, too. It’s up to you to make sure they get the best out of the summer and that they don’t track in any unwanted visitors. If you’ve got an outdoor cat, chances are you’ve already encountered this menace at least once – fleas. They’re out there, and if they build an established population, it can be a struggle to be rid of them. In this case, prevention is one of the best medicines, so let’s go over how you can keep fleas away from your home and your pets.
Cleanliness is Key!
Keeping your pet groomed is essential in preventing fleas from finding an attractive place to settle down and start a colony. Your grooming schedule depends on a number of things – Whether you have a cat or a dog, for example. Though the stereotype of a mangy dog covered in fleas is an enduring one, it’s actually cats that suffer from these pests more frequently. While cats may not need any help bathing, your dog should get a bath at least once a month, though your vet will be able to tell you exactly how often your particular breed should be bathed. Some need it more, some need it less.
It’s essential to maintain regular bathing because even without a flea treatment in the water, soap acts as a mild pesticide and can kill what few fleas might be there. It is just as essential to limit their time outdoors in places where they might encounter fleas. Bathing doesn’t do a whole lot for very long to deter fleas, but it does let you spot them and the ‘dirt’ they leave behind.
A fine-toothed comb can pluck out little grains of flea droppings, letting you know for sure when your pet is under attack. The most common way for animals to catch fleas, though, is by coming in contact with another animal or with a place another animal has been. For example, an outdoor kennel or a dog park is a great place to catch fleas. If possible, check your dog before and after bringing them to places like these to help prevent the spread of fleas.
Whether you’ve already got fleas or you’re trying to keep them away, there are a number of treatment options. Two important notes, though: If your dog is taking heartworm medication, ask a vet before beginning any anti-flea treatment, and NEVER use a flea treatment meant for a dog on a cat. This can be lethal for your feline friend! A somewhat holistic method of prevention is in what you wash your pet’s fur with – Lemons! A lemon bath is a gentle way to kill fleas naturally, as they can’t survive the fruit’s citric acid. Your pet will be just fine and will even smell “lemony fresh!” Just dilute half a cup of fresh lemon juice into two cups of water, and add a spritz of your normal pet shampoo. It really does the trick for dogs.
For cats, treatment may involve creams, shampoos, maybe even pills! As it can be harder to get a cat to take a bath with shampoo, many owners also like to opt for the standard feline flea collar. Similar products are also available for dogs. Some pet supply stores even offer flea relief treatments!
If you’re a little late to getting started on your flea problem, get your pet to the vet, and get on the phone with us. We’ll let you know what we can do to ease the flea situation in your home and even in your yard. We can work with you to help keep fleas away from your home.