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How to Get Rid of Fleas

Learning about the flea life cycle is the key to getting rid of them

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A simple flea bath or collar isn't going to eradicate fleas on your pet and in your home. Learn the flea life cycle to fine tune your efforts.

Related: More Veterinary Parasites

1. Fleas – Learn About the Life Cycle of Fleas

Anatomy of the flea © Al2 on Wikimedia Commons
© Al2 on Wikimedia Commons

Fleas can make pets' lives miserable, and humans begin to itch just at the thought of them. Part I of this article is to give some insight to the biology of the flea. Why go back to biology? Because the flea life cycle is fairly complex, and understanding the various stages will make it easier to get rid of them.

2. Flea Control – How to Get Rid of Fleas

© Farnam Pet Products
Part I of this article discussed the biology of the flea. Understanding the various stages of the flea life cycle will make the various flea treatment regimes easier to understand and apply. The purpose of part II of this article is to demonstrate why multiple approaches are needed to control/eradicate fleas.

3. How Diatomaceous Earth Works to Kill Fleas

Diatoms / AlishaV on Flickr
AlishaV on Flickr
Diatom cell walls are made of silica, a component of glass. DE has been used for years as an insecticide to control mites, fleas and other insects; find out how it works here.

4. What are the little "black pepper" spots on my pet?

Flea dirt on hair combed out of a cat © Dr Zak at en.wikipedia
© Dr Zak at en.wikipedia
This Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) is from Margaret. "My question is: my dog has these little black things in her fur that like little spots of black pepper..." Find out the answer to this commonly asked question and how you can do a quick little test at home to prove verify what this "black pepper" stuff is.

5. What are the best methods to control fleas on my pet and in my house?

Puppy with stick in the yard © David Dyer
© David Dyer
Fleas have a complex, 4-stage life cycle. Control of fleas on your pet and in your home must address all stages of this life cycle to stop the problem of flea infestation. This article will cover several different methods that are effective at controlling fleas, when used properly.

6. Why does my pet have fleas when flea control products are regularly applied?

Sky Dog by ms.Tea on Flickr
by ms.Tea on Flickr
Viewer question from the Veterinary Medicine forum: ANGELAESQUILIN asks: "My five month old Cocker Spaniel has been on Frontline® for three months now. Every Saturday I give her a bath also using a flea and tick shampoo recommended by my vet. Yesterday I saw her scratching herself and decided to check her with a flea and tick comb. To my amazement, I removed two fleas from her coat. I am not sure what I have done wrong for her to get fleas.

7. What is the life cycle of the flea, & why is flea control so difficult?

Electron micrograph image of a flea
Image © Center for Disease Control (CDC)
Fleas. They make pets' lives miserable, and humans begin to itch just at the thought of them. Vets are often asked what pill, drop, dip, collar, or shampoo works the best to get rid of these persistent parasites. The answer is that there is no single method or insecticide that will completely eradicate (or at least control) a flea problem. The flea life cycle is fairly complex, and understanding the various stages will make it easier to get rid of them.

8. How to Give Your Pet A Flea Bath

Chachi's Sunday Bath © 416style on Flickr
© 416style on Flickr

How to get the most out of a flea bath, the start of a good flea control program. Not every itchy dog (or cat) has fleas, though. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian if your pet is itching or has inflamed skin before initiating treatment or special shampoos.

9. Veterinary Q & A: Itching, Scratching, and Hair Loss

Scratching dog © blmurch on Flickr
© blmurch on Flickr
Yes, fleas can make pets and people itchy and uncomfortable, but don't always assume that your pet's itchiness is the result of fleas. Learn about flea allergy and some other possible causes for your pet's itchiness.

10. Dermatology Diary Photo Gallery

Asia the dog © Lianne McLeod DVM, Guide to Exotic Pets
© Lianne McLeod DVM, Guide to Exotic Pets
This article is not specifically about fleas, but a good case history and workup of two itchy dogs. Lianne McLeod, Guide to Exotic Pets at About.com, has written an extensive "dermatology diary" account of her two dogs who suffer from itchy skin and hair loss. Learn what is involved in a veterinary referral work up; how skin diseases are examined and ruled out, the topical medications, oral medications and special diets that veterinary dermatologists use to diagnose and return their patients to good health.
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