Dog flea treatments are often talked about in terms of preventing fleas or getting rid of existing flea infestations on our dogs.
Last week, we talked all about fleas on our dogs and what to do about them.
However, there’s another aspect to treatment that many people don’t think of: what to do when the fleas migrate from your dog to your home.
This time around, we’re going to talk about what to do if you have fleas in your home because if your dog has fleas, your home probably does, too.
Dog Flea Treatments for the Home – What to Do if Your Home is Infested
While fleas generally prefer to stay on their host – in this case, our dogs – they can and do get dislodged from our dogs by scratching, brushing, and other activities.
So if you discover that your dog has fleas, it’s possible that your home has fleas, as well.
If your dog is infested with fleas, the chances that your home has a serious flea problem is very, very real.
Determining if Your Home is Flea Infested
The first thing you need to know about flea infestations is that they are preventable.
Simply keep your dog on a monthly flea and tick preventative schedule, and you’ll never have to worry about fleas infesting your home.
It’s the easiest, most effective way to prevent infestations on your dog and in your home.
That being said, sometimes we miss a month. Sometimes, people stop flea and tick treatment for the winter months.
While not recommended, most owners have no problems doing this.
However, if you’ve missed a month or you’ve stopped treatment too early in the season, you might discover that Fido has fleas.
This usually occurs when an owner notices that the dog is itching or they might even see fleas on him while they are brushing or petting him.
If you see fleas on your dog, get him immediate treatment. After that, immediately assess your home for flea infestation.
Your home is a big place, so at this point, you might be worrying about how exactly you’re supposed to find tiny fleas in all that space. Don’t worry, I’m going to tell you right now.
Check Fido’s Bed and Your Furniture
While fleas are very good at remaining on their hosts, their eggs aren’t so adept.
They tend to fall off of our dogs in places where they frequently lay like dog beds, along with our beds, couches, and the like.
These are the first places to look. You’ll need a magnifying glass and a flashlight. Look for tiny, off-white ovals. If you find any, you’ve found flea eggs.
Check the Carpeting
Rugs are the perfect nesting ground for fleas.
The eggs fall to the bottom of the carpet, where they remain protected and warm, just waiting to hatch.
Like bedding, give your carpet, especially carpet where your pet frequently lays, a good once over with a magnifying glass and a flashlight.
Check Your Hardwood Floors
Yep. Fleas can lay eggs on hardwood floors.
Actually, the eggs are found in the cracks between the boards.
Check these crevices with a magnifying glass and a flashlight to see if you have any eggs lurking.
The White Sock Test
This is an easy test to perform, but be aware that it may creep you out.
Simply wear a pair of at least calf-high socks – knee-high is better.
Then, walk around your home for the day, focusing on walking over the carpeting and putting your feet up on the furniture and your bed.
At the end of the day, check the socks for fleas. If your home is infested, there’s a good chance that you’ll see fleas crawling on the socks.
Dog Flea Treatments for the Home
A lot of people ask: Do I need to treat my house if my dog has fleas?
The answer to that is a resounding YES!
A flea’s life cycle is about 100 days, but with favorable conditions, fleas can live for up to a year in your home.
Honestly, if you find fleas on your dog, your best bet is to begin the cleaning process in your home immediately.
You can look for fleas or eggs if you like, but the chances are so high that your home has at least some fleas and/or eggs, that I would just skip over checking and move right into cleaning.
All it takes is one or two fleas to start the breeding cycle.
That means that even if you caught your dog’s flea issue early, you could still have eggs in your carpet or on your pet’s bed.
You could even have them on your bed.
It takes some effort to clean the fleas, but it’s far better than having those gross little bloodsuckers lounging around your home.
The following step-by-step guide will help you get rid of fleas, larvae, and eggs
Launder Everything Possible
Wash your bed linens, couch cushion covers if they can be removed, your dog’s bedding cover if it’s removable, bathroom mats, slipcovers, curtains, and anything else that you can possibly fit into your washing machine.
The more you can wash the better because flea eggs could be anywhere.
Wash everything on high heat and use color-safe bleach.
The rule of thumb is that if it can be washed, it should be washed.
Vacuum, Mop, and Steam Clean
Vacuum all the floors in your home, along with your couches, chairs, and any other cloth surfaces you have.
Mop your hardwood and tile surfaces.
If you have a steam cleaner, use it on your carpets. If you don’t have one, rent one, and then steam clean your carpets.
Continue the vacuum, mop, and steam clean ritual for at least a week to ensure that you’ve gotten all fleas and eggs out of your home.
Get a Flea Powder
There are several brands of pet and human-safe flea powders on the market designed to be sprinkled on to carpets and furniture to help you kill the fleas.
These products are made into a fine powder and work by dehydrating flea larvae before they can mature.
Treat Your Dog
Treating your dog serves two purposes. First, it prevents him from getting reinfested because when a flea bites him, it will die.
Secondly, it helps protect your home from reinfestation because when a flea bites him, it will die.
Treating your dog helps protect him, and makes him a portable flea killer for your home at the same time.
Dog Flea Treatments for the Home are Easy to Use
Because, really, dog flea treatments are mainly just manual labor.
You’ll be doing a lot of washing, vacuuming, mopping, and steam cleaning, but that’s far better than the alternative.
If you discover that your dog has fleas, immediately get him treated and then begin the process of cleaning your home from top to bottom.
It will take some time, but it’s the best way to ensure that the fleas you found on your dog – and any fleas you didn’t find in your home – are done away with quickly and efficiently.