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How to Get Rid of Fleas On Your Pet And In Your Home

| Updated September 26, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum cleaner

  • Insecticides for the home (powder, fogger, spray)

  • Insecticides for use on pet (oral or topical)

Pet owners who live in warm climates often dread the annual summer battle against fleas. One trip to the park or a week at the pet boarder's, and your cat or dog may end up bringing several hundred new little friends home with him. A flea infestation can quickly become a frustrating situation that takes time and money to eliminate. However, there are several effective ways to get rid of fleas on your pet and in your home for good.

Vacuum your home. The majority of a home's flea infestation will be in the form of the insect's eggs. Usually only 5 percent of the fleas in a house are adults, while about 50 percent will be eggs. Female fleas are capable of laying 50 eggs a day. The rest of the infestation is usually made up of the other two stages of the flea's life cycle, the pupae and larvae.

Vacuuming repeatedly can pull up at least half of the eggs as well as the other flea types. During peak flea season, vacuum at least once a week and sometimes more. Also throw out the bag or clean out the canister of your vacuum often since the eggs can hatch inside the appliance and re-infest your home. Target the areas where your pets lie, and wash pet bedding often.

Use insecticides on the carpet, upholstery and pet bedding. Several types of chemicals can kill adult fleas, larvae and eggs. Nylar (pripoxyfen) and methoprene are two chemicals that can kill both adult fleas and the other forms of the flea life cycle. These powerful chemicals can be used as foggers, sprays or powders that are vacuumed up. Sprays are useful for getting under furniture and along baseboards, while foggers eliminate fleas in larger spaces. If repeated use of these chemicals does not eliminate the flea infestation, a professional exterminator may be needed.

Eliminate fleas on your pet. Even if you are able to get rid of all the fleas in your home, your pet may bring the eggs and adult insects right back inside. For starters, a simple bath with soap and water is an easy way to drown the existing adult fleas. Another easy way to eliminate fleas quickly is the chemical nitenpyram, which is more commonly known as Capstar. When the pill is given to your cat or dog, all adult fleas on the animal will start dying with 30 minutes. Each dose is effective for 24 hours.

A good grooming with a flea comb is another option for removing adult fleas. Remember to dip the comb frequently in soapy water to kill the insects. Finally, a flea dip or rinse is another way to kill fleas but can only be used for dogs. Sprays formulated for use on cats or dogs are also effective.

Start your pet on a monthly preventative flea treatment. Once you have eliminated the fleas from your pet and home, you must start it on a monthly preventative medication or topical ointment. You don't want to go through the inconvenience of fogging, washing and spraying your home and pet every month. Once-a-month ointments are applied to the back of your dog or cat's back near the neck to prevent them from licking it off. Some of the ointments also kill ticks. An oral or injectable medication is another choice that can also be given monthly to prevent fleas. Some of the oral medication only affects the flea eggs so it is important to eliminate the adult fleas as well if your pet is infested.


  • Treat everywhere your pet spends time, including the basement, garage, car or pet carrier.

    It's important to control fleas in your yard as well as on your pet and in the home. Small wild animals like raccoons, chipmunks and squirrels carry fleas, so do not encourage them onto your property with feeding stations. Infested lawns must be mowed short and allowed to dry out because fleas tend to thrive in shady, moist areas.


  • Be careful when selecting sprays, foggers and other chemicals to use in your home, especially if you have children, birds or fish. People with asthma or other serious breathing conditions can also be adversely affected by flea-killing chemicals. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian and your doctor if you are worried about health complications.