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Integrated Flea Control

Every summer, many dog and cat owners in Nebraska are plagued by serious and persistent flea infestations. Sometimes even petless families have to deal with fleas after a visit to the pet store or after the kids have played with a neighborhood dog or cat.  Flea bites can be mistaken for a rash; each bite has a small red spot in the center surrounded by a red halo. And unlike some other insect bites, there is not much swelling associated with flea bites.

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Flea control and treating the home

Insecticidal Shampoos/Powders

  • Flea shampoos contain insecticides that vary in their effectiveness. The goal is to remove the fleas that are present on the animal at the time of shampooing.  To be effective, the shampoo must stay on the animal for at least 10 minutes before rinsing. Only use a product on an animal for which it is labeled. A natural insecticide that is fairly effective D-limonene, a volatile oil from citrus fruits.  These safe shampoos are good on kittens and puppies and for homes with infants.
  • Powders are effective insecticides and easy to apply.  Shake a small amount of powder onto the skin around the tail, rear legs, stomach and around the neck.  Apply powders in a well-ventilated area. If you have respiratory problems, do not apply this powder, use another type of product on your animal.
  • Sprays: Sprays should be applied one or twice weekly.  It is not necessary to soak the animal. Hit the tail base, the rear aspect of both hind legs, the stomach, and around the base of the neck.
  • Flea Collars: According to Consumer Reports, August 1991, flea collars aren’t effective and are probably a waste of money.  Ultrasonic flea collars are absolutely worthless because they do not work.

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The Life Cycle of the Flea

During each of the four stages of the flea life cycle, fleas are resistant to different chemicals. For best results at killing fleas in all stages, use products that contain an insecticide as well as an insect growth regulator, such as the Knockout or Siphotrol sprays available from Entirely Pets. Read More

Treat the Animal

Lufenuron/Program® (Novartis Animal Health).  Complete flea prevention for the entire season is now possible by treating your dog or cat monthly with Program® beginning in early spring, before the flea season starts.  For animals that live in kennels or warm climates, year-round treatment may be needed. Program® is formulated as a pill for dogs or as a liquid suspension to be mixed with a treat for cats. This flea control medication is only available from a veterinarian. Read More

Treat the Outdoor Environment

Treat dog houses, kennels by cleaning them out thoroughly and/or washing bedding material. Treat dog house, kennels and yard areas with an insecticide containing an insect growth regulator, such as pyriproxyfen.  This growth regulator is more photostable than methoprene (Precor) and lasts longer in outdoor environments. Pyriproxyfen is sold under the trade name Archer or Nylar. Read More