Your pet may be a member of the family, but it's easy for them to unintentionally cause a big household problem. If you're not careful, your pet may wind up with fleas, which can quickly spread into an infestation. The pests multiply quickly, and ignoring the problem will only make it worse. Take time to learn about the signs of fleas so if your pet picks up the pests, you'll notice quickly and be able to handle the situation in a timely manner.
Finding the fleas
Many homeowners with flea infestations first notice the pests on their pet. If your pets are scratching themselves constantly, they may be trying to relieve the itch of flea bites. Adult fleas spend most of their lives on your dog or cat, and lay their eggs on the pet. Even though treating your pet is a crucial step in pest elimination, it's not the only one. The flea eggs fall off your pet throughout the day, and find their way into carpeting, furniture and cushions. Once these eggs hatch, the larvae will hide in your carpet, furniture or pet bedding and can create a serious infestation.
Treating the problem
If you suspect fleas have invaded your home, it's important to act quickly before the problem gets out of control. While a severe infestation may require professional help from an exterminator, there are steps you can take to combat a small problem before the insect control professionals arrive. Start by taking your pet to a veterinarian, who can let you know if the problem really is fleas. If fleas are the issue, your pet will be treated for the parasites, but that doesn't mean the fleas will flee your home.
After receiving a diagnosis, immediately wash or discard your pet's bedding, where most of the flea eggs have likely fallen off. It is important to vacuum the entire house, to try to eliminate any pests that are hiding deep in the carpet or in throw rugs. If your pet spends a lot of time on a particular piece of furniture, vacuum that as well. Some pets sleep in the same bed as their owners – if this is the case for you and your pet, wash all bedding in hot water to kill any pests that may be lurking in the sheets.
After you've completed a preliminary round of flea elimination, pest control professionals can handle the situation and eliminate any remaining pests from your home.