My Pet Has Fleas! What Do I Do?

3 min read
Jan 25, 2022

Controlling your Pet's Fleas

First things first - a visit to your veterinarian is in order to stock up on some flea killing ammunition.

If your pet is heavily infested with visible fleas and flea dirt your veterinarian may orally administer a Capstar pill. This pill will begin killing adult fleas within 10 - 30 minutes and will continue to work for up to 48 hours but only on adult fleas.

You’re also going to need products to kill flea eggs and larvae. This is crucial because the key to getting rid of fleas for good is preventing re-infestation. You see, the fleas you see on Fido are just 5% of all the fleas that have invaded the immediate environment. Those little guys have been busy laying eggs which are in all various stages of egg, larvae, pupae and adult throughout your home. It is important to note that all pets in the household need to be treated whether you have seen fleas on them or not. The adult fleas will go looking for a blood meal and any untreated pets will be unprotected and a source for a potential breeding ground. Your veterinarian can give you the best advice on how to select the right topical or oral products that will turn your pet into a “flea vacuum” for the next 4- 8 weeks as you deal with the remaining fleas in the home environment.

    How to Eliminate Fleas

    Vacuum your carpets and upholstered furniture.

    Take your vacuum bag outside immediately for disposal. Any eggs you’ve vacuumed up can hatch in the vacuum and come right back out into your home. Don’t let all your hard work be for nothing. Take the bag out!

    Wash throw rugs, pet bedding (including the stuffing) and pet toys in hot water. Anything of this nature that is not washable is recommended to throw out.

    At this point you are ready to use a spot & crevice spray, carpet & upholstery spray and/or a household fogger. Your veterinarian may carry these products. Reputable brands are Advantage, Sentry, and Virbac Knockout. You may also decide to spend the extra money an call an exterminator.

    It is also advisable to treat the yard as well if your pet spends a lot of time playing there.


    Fleas can have Favorite Spots

    Fleas are more than just an unsightly nuisance that make you and your pet itchy. Some pets are very allergic to the flea saliva and can develop Flea Allergy Dermatitis. Even worse, fleas transmit multiple zoonotic agents such as those that cause cat scratch disease and typhus. Children and pets that ingest infected fleas can develop D. caninum (tapeworms). In the Rocky Mountain and Southwest states rodent fleas that our pets can pick up on walks can be vectors for bubonic plague.

    The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) recommends avoiding initial infestations altogether by practicing lifelong and year-round prevention programs.

    While a flea infestation is not an easy thing to get under control quickly, following these steps diligently will help you prevent re-infestation.

Consider Investing in Pet Insurance

Looking for more ways to keep your pets happy and healthy? Consider investing in a pet insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance. We offer dog insurance and cat insurance policies for your furry family members.  Get your free quote today.

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.