Flea Control & Breaking the Flea Life Cycle

“Dr. Rannals, I used a flea topical a couple of months ago, but my dog’s fleas are just as bad. This stuff doesn’t work.” Here in East Texas and all of the South, breaking the flea life cycle isn’t like cooking popcorn in a microwave. It’s a process that takes some time and diligence

The Problem:

Breaking the flea life cycle can be achieved at your home. But to do that, you have to understand something about their life cycle. You see, a female flea can lay between 2000 to 4000 eggs in her lifetime! And she only lives about 90 days!! That means that in the space of only 3 months your house can experience a flea population explosion, even if Fido just brought one single flea home from that walk you took. As the flea is feeding on your pet, she lays eggs that then drop off the pet where ever Fido or Felix are living. So it can be inside the house or outside in the backyard. In warm humid weather, that flea egg becomes a young adult flea in only 2 weeks, ready to feed on the pet again. So in only a few weeks, your home can become a veritable flea hotel.

The mistake most people make is in taking a “hit or miss” approach to using flea control. If you only are using a dose of flea medicine every few months, the life cycle isn’t broken. Those thousands of eggs have already hatched and become young adults and have started feeding on your pet all over again, thus potentiating the life cycle. In order to really fix the problem, you have to do these things:

The Solution:

Use a good quality flea product. Not all flea products are alike. Some are much more effective than other. In general, over the counter flea controls from the big box stores are not as effective or long lasting as what you will buy from a vet’s office.

2. If a flea product is made to use monthly, then use it monthly, not every 2 or 3 months. Skipping doses allows that life cycle to rev up again.

3. Stay after it until the battle is won. Don’t give up. That can take several months in long warm weather seasons like we have here in Whitehouse and East Texas.

At the Rannals Small Animal Hospital, we carry several flea control products that are very effective. For most homes here, it’s a good idea to use them year around. Two products, Trifexis and Revolution, also serve as your heartworm prevention. We also carry a fairly new product, Bravecto, that actually lasts for 3 months! One chewable Bravecto tablet given every 3 months is perhaps the best way to finally break the cycle and rid your home of fleas.

If you have any questions, please call us at 903-839-7235.