Thursday, May 12, 2011

Flea nightmare!

Over the past 17 years I have never had a flea problem with my dogs - until about three months ago. The experts say that in Gauteng this is due to the unseasonal weather alternating between cold, rain and hot weather. It never rains this late into autumn. Apparently this has caused a flea epidemic and believe me - the fleas are conquering the world. At first I kept on spraying my dogs with my regular flea and tick deterrent but the fleas just kept on multiplying and multiplying and multiplying.

Not only do they drive your pets crazy but they cause skin problems, can transmit tapeworm and cause "cat scratch disease". You need a product that will kill not only adult fleas but the development of flea eggs. They become larvae then pupae that cling to your carpets, furniture, skirting boards, curtains, clothes, bedding - in fact everywhere.
A single flea lays up to 50 eggs a day and lives for about 100 days. That's 5000 eggs per flea! The larvae emerge from the eggs and become pupae. These are invisible to the naked eye and can remain embedded in your home for up to a year waiting to strike. In a flea invasion only 5% are adults and 95% are eggs lying in wait.

I was advised to wash my dogs bedding in extremely hot water. The first product I used for the house was a powder that I sprinkled all over my carpets and on the dogs' bedding. But this did not produce the desired results. I was treating my dogs every second day and yet the fleas continued to thrive.

Out came the horror stories. One woman took 8 months of continual home and pet treatment to clear up the problem. Another woman had to rip up her carpets and left half her house bare for 6 months because they could not afford to fully re-carpet their home.

I eventually spoke to someone who said that there were no half measures when it came to fleas. It was WAR.

I changed the product I was using on my dogs as it was now obvious that the fleas had become immune to my regular product (which happens when you overdose). I gave them tablets to swallow which cause fleas to become sterile (after they have bitten the poor dog). I also paid a pretty penny for an environmental spray that I used to fumigate my house. I put flea collars into the bag of my vacuum cleaner so that any fleas that landed up there would hopefully die. I also bought a lice comb to groom my dogs' fur to get rid of all that nasty black gunk (a combination of flea eggs and flea poop). You have to be careful about what you comb the eggs onto as they stick to plastic, so rather use paper and syphon the eggs into vinegar or paraffin.

So four months down the road, my dogs are no longer scratching themselves to death. They still need more grooming to be completely egg/flea poop free but they seem to be picking up less fleas from the environment.

Have we WON THE WAR or is this just a truce? The cold weather causes the pupae to become dormant so it is possible that hostilities will resume in spring.
But what a nightmare!
Any other advice on the war on fleas?

All I can say is if you see a single flea on your dog, KILL IT!


  1. For all I know, flea loves heat and they attack when the summer month is coming. You take care properly, your dog because you don't have any problem with fleas in 17 years. I learned a lot from the experience you shared with us and I'm glad that I read your blog. I will share this experience to my friends who really love reading blogs too. Check us more: Vets North Somerset

  2. Thanks Ricardo. I am paranoid about fleas now and never want to have to go through a flea nightmare again!