Fleas can be quite a nuisance for both pets and their owners. What’s more, the longer they’re ignored (or not even spotted, to begin with), the faster they breed. Getting rid of them is typically hard once they’ve made themselves comfortable in your cat’s or dog’s fur, but hopefully, there are ways to eliminate them for good.
Today we’ll talk about a few simple flea-prevention tricks, so without any further ado, let’s dive straight into it.
Get acquainted with flea-killing pesticides (Pyrethroids)
Before you decide what kind of flea prevention option you’re going to try, it’s best to learn a bit more about the chemicals that the vast majority of flea control products use. The only non-chemical way of preventing fleas from infesting your pets is handpicking (combing can sometimes work too), so in that light, pretty much anything that’s available relies on at least one chemical from the Pyrethroid family.
Permethrin, for example, is an excellent all-around solution as it can eliminate fleas as soon as they make contact with it. Bifenthrin needs to be ingested, but it’s equally efficient while Cyhalothrin is gentler to humans and animals, but may not kill adult fleas 100% of the time – sometimes this chemical will paralyze the insects instead so that they can be easily combed off.
Another non-toxic, non-cancerous, almost completely safe chemical that is normally a part of high-quality insecticides is Deltamethrin.
The list of insecticide ingredients is enormous, but these are among the most common and most effective ones.
Flea collars as the ultimate flea-prevention tool
The best, most consistent, and most efficient way of keeping your pets free of fleas is to outfit them with a flea collar. Basically, these little gadgets aren’t as abnormal to pets who are already accustomed to sporting a wearable (especially dogs) while other types of medication usually have at least a few drawbacks.
There are two most common types that can work a bit differently, although they’re usually equipped with the same features and look aesthetically identical. Both release non-harmful chemicals on the pet’s skin that can kill or deter (or both) various types of pests.
Permethrin acts as soon as fleas come into contact with it, regardless of the affected body part or absorbed quantity. It’s a rapid-acting solution that is best used for pets that are already affected by a large infestation of fleas.
Most insecticide products that feature Permethrin are generally a bit more expensive than those that rely on Bifenthrin; Permethrin collars in particular are more expensive than most pills, tablets, powders, and sprays.
A more affordable solution in comparison to Permethrin collars, Bifenthrin collars work a bit differently. They release a chemical that is toxic to fleas, but only if they eat it. It can eliminate young fleas on contact, but adults need to digest it.
Flea pills and tablets are a viable solution if your pet doesn’t feel too comfortable with a collar. They are very similar to collars in the sense that they release chemicals throughout the pet’s body, only they tend to be a bit faster.
The downside of flea medication is its short-spanned efficiency. Some pills can provide a protective flea ‘barrier’ to your pet for up to a month, but most are actually efficient for a few weeks at most.
Another downside of flea medication is that some pets will refuse to consume the pills no matter how hard you try to persuade them. Due to the fact that chemicals are falling on their digestive system (rather than absorbed through the skin), some will experience side effects. Vomiting, obviously, negates any potential benefits.
On the upside, flea medication works almost immediately and can kill off all adult fleas infesting your pet. Pet owners and any humans that make contact with the pet can also play with the pet in a safer way, which is not always the case with collars.
Flea baths are perfect for dogs and arguably the worst possible solution for cats that hate water. Essentially, a flea insecticide in the form of a shampoo is to be used on a pet, left for a few minutes, and then rinsed off. It’s a practical, least harmful way of controlling fleas if your pet doesn’t mind getting soaked.
Flea baths are a quick and easy way to take care of an ongoing infestation of fleas; it doesn’t pull any side effects as flea medication does, nor does it release chemicals that humans can be affected by like collars.
On the downside, flea baths do not offer the benefit of lasting flea control. They normally work for a few days with full efficiency, after which the shampoo’s flea-deterring capabilities will gradually start to fade.
It’s the last alternative you should consider if your pet is infested by young fleas for the most part. Adults can be handpicked and combed while the younger ones can be dealt with by using a powder, pill, or a collar.
Flea powders were among the first methods of flea control. Despite the fact that collars and medication products were steadily advancing and were deemed as more ‘modern and effective’, flea powders are actually the strongest and last the longest.
The obvious downside of flea powders is that they are also the most toxic and most harmful to pets who will try to lick them unless they’re wearing an Elizabethan collar.
The method by which flea powders should be used is also quite unique. Basically, flea-infested pets should be powdered and unbathed for a few days, up to a week (depending on the model). By this time, they should be monitored so as not to lick or scratch any open wounds.
After this period of time had passed, a regular bath will wash away the chemical traces; the main ingredients of these chemicals will be absorbed by the pets by this time. Even though it’s potentially more dangerous than other alternatives, a flea powder lasts substantially longer than any other flea control solution; collars need to be ‘recharged’. Otherwise, they can be labeled as ‘perpetually-acting.’
We hope that this guide was useful to you and that you have learned something new today on preventing fleas on your pets. Make sure you are staying safe in these times we are all going through and have a good one, guys!