The flea is a tiny wingless insect with a hard and laterally flat body designed to easily navigate through pet hair, legs designed for jumping great distances, and mouthparts designed to suck blood. This external parasite feeds upon the blood of a host, usually a mammal. There are several species of fleas, but the one that most commonly affects dogs, cats and other house pets in North America is the cat flea, also known as Ctenocephalides felis. While this type of flea can bite humans, it does not infest us, as the human is not an ideal host. This flea prefers cats, dogs, rabbits and similar small mammals.
Fleas life cycles (3-4 months) are such that, chances are, your dog has only about 5% of them crawling all over him. Unfortunately, that means that the rest are likely in your house and your yard. This may sound incredible, but it’s easy for them to hide: they’re tiny, they have six strong, leap-able legs, they like dark little spaces, and – they spend a lot of their time as either eggs, larvae or pupae anyway. Female adults lay eggs on your dog, and the eggs fall off – in your house or your yard. And the cycle continues. Whether you need to get rid of fleas on your dog right this second or you just want to be prepared, read on for the most effective ways to get rid of fleas for good.
Start by cleaning everything. First confine the dog or cat to the bathroom, so that any fleas they’re carrying would not jump onto the surface you just cleaned. Throw all of the pet bedding in the washing machine, or use a hot dryer for about 15 or 20 minutes to kill adult’s larvae and eggs. Vacuum your house completely.
Give your pet a hot water bath. You can use any shampoo. Wash the neck first so that the fleas don’t jump up to the head during the bath. Be thorough; you’ll probably see several fleas come off and float around in the water.
Make your own herbal flea dip. Take two cups of fresh rosemary leaves and add them to two pints of water. Boil for thirty minutes. Strain the liquid, discard the leaves, and mix it with up to a gallon of warm water. Pour this over your pet until saturated. Do not rinse off, but allow your pet to air dry. Use a flea comb to get rid of stubborn fleas that remain.