Putting an end to the infestation
The fleas have gotten past your defenses and into your home. What now? How do you and your pet stay healthy and put an end to your misery?
Attaining the best results is going to depend on the severity of infestation. After all, just giving your pet a shampoo treatment isn't going to help if there's already eggs, larva, and adults living in your carpet. At a certain point, a simple house spray may be enough, or a carpet treatment, or you may need both. Of course, if the infestation is very severe, you may want to talk to your vet about the risks and benefits of certain types of solutions.
Sometimes people mistake monitoring tools, like flea traps, with infestation control. Flea traps cannot treat the source of the infestation, be it your pet, your yard, or something else, and they cannot even trap the majority of fleas in your home. They also won't do anything to prevent new larva from hatching.
The first point of control should be your pet. Even if they aren't the source of an infestation, this will help mitigate discomfort and health risks. Be sure to talk to us about your options!
A once-monthly oral medication will help interfere with the early life stages of new fleas.
Spot-on treatment can protect your pet's entire body and kill adult fleas on contact.
You may want to use a flea shampoo, which will only last a couple of weeks but will immediately kill all the fleas on your pet as well as protect your pet over time.
In severe situations, a dip, much like a shampoo, may be required. If not used very carefully, dips can be hazardous to both you and your pet.
Remember to keep combing your pet. This will let you know if the selected treatment is working as expected. You should also regularly vacuum to prevent flea eggs and larva from settling in, as well as regularly clean bedding, etc.
However, treating your animal won't be enough. Treating your home and your yard are important steps to ensuring the fleas are gone for good. This is likely to require a combination of treatments — after all; no one treatment can cover everything. This may require a bit of spending, but it will definitely require patience. Hiring professional exterminators will work as well. They will be trained in what to look for in your yard and home, and have the tools necessary to fully treat your home.
Flea bombs sound like the best all around treatment because, like other bug bombs and foggers, it fills up the space of a room. It does require multiple bombs to treat multiple rooms. However, the downside is that it leaves some areas untreated (e.g., inside closets, drawers, or cabinets, or even underneath some kinds of furniture) and leaves a residue that can contaminate food.
Anti-flea sprays are available that can be used on carpets and furniture, and some are even multi-use sprays that can be used on your pets. (Always read the instructions! Using one that's furniture use only on your pet can make them sick!) However, the length of time these sprays last is very brief, meaning you will have to use and buy these products often.
Another option is carpet powders which are spread out on the floor, allowed to 'rest' like waiting for a flea bomb to completely expend itself, and then are vacuumed up. These are harder to come by, and often are not available in regular stores, but they are long-lasting and kill fleas at every life cycle. Unfortunately, you cannot spread it on furniture, and it needs to be vacuumed thoroughly.
When it comes to your yard, there are a few natural options that may help, but cannot be guaranteed, including using cedar chips or Pennyroyal herbs as a repellent and spraying nematodes (which do not affect humans or pets) on your yard.
Flea insecticides are also available for your yard. Like indoor treatments, you should always read all the instructions and follow them carefully. Remember to protect yourself with gloves and a dust mask. You'll need to cover the whole yard, so make sure your pets and/or children don't play in the area until the process is finished.
You should never rely on one method to kill fleas, and never only treat one area at a time. This will inevitably provide a small percentage of fleas sanctuary, which in turn will lead to a new infestation.