Every pet owner will probably encounter fleas at some time or another. Scratching itchy flea bites can lead to fur loss, skin inflammation and even open wounds. Some fleas even carry diseases. Mostly, though, these are annoying pests that can hard to get rid of. A home remedy for fleas can be a good place to start, but there are some key things to keep in mind when attempting one.
First, make sure it's fleas that are the problem. There are other things that might make your pet itch, including food sensitivities, dry skin, fungal infections and other parasites like ear mites and ticks. Using a home remedy for fleas might actually make some conditions like dry skin worse. A veterinarian can help with diagnosis and offer suggestions for treatment. Pest control experts can also verify the presence of fleas on the pets and in the home, as well as other pests (such as mice) which might complicate treatment.
The next step in a home remedy for fleas is treating the pet itself. There are many commercial products available, from general insecticides to specific chemicals that will not only kill adult fleas but will break their life cycle. Read directions for these products carefully, since some require multiple applications and some need to be carefully placed on the animal. Remember to treat every animal in the household, even the ones which stay outside.
Once the pets themselves have been treated, the next step in any home remedy for fleas is treating the home. The eggs and larvae of fleas are often found in bedding, carpets, and furniture, so it's important to treat those areas as well. Again, there are many commercial products available from spot on sprays to foggers, some which will eliminate other insects too and some which specifically break the life cycle of fleas. Again, read directions carefully, and be sure to treat all areas your pet frequents. Some of these treatments will have to be repeated over a period of time to ensure that the pests have been eliminated.
The final step of a home remedy for fleas needs to be prevention of further infestations. Once again, treating the animals with a commercial repellent is the place to start. But also treating the whole house (and in some cases, the yard) is important in keeping the pests from returning. This is when it's most helpful to consult a local pest control expert, since they are aware of local variables that also have an impact on flea populations. An expert can help set up a program of pest control that is tailored to the specific needs of the household, individual pets, and other potential pests, as well.