While the warm summer weather is great news if you plan to take a neighborhood stroll, it also means the start of flea and tick season.
We break down the important facts about fleas, how to prevent an invasion, and tips on natural flea treatments if you find your pet infested!
What's my pet scratching at?
Let’s start by discussing some fundamental flea knowledge. A flea’s life consists of 4-stages:
→ Pupa – hardest stage to kill
Adult fleas feed on blood, lay eggs that hatch into larvae in 5-11 days, and larvae follow behind and feed on the adult’s excrement. Nasty, y'all.
The larva then spins a cocoon to become a pupa where it develops into an adult after 1-2 weeks. But, the adult flea may lie dormant in the cocoon for up to 2 years before emerging in seconds when stimulated by a passing animal.
Once it has hitchhiked on a host, a flea can survive up to one year in an ideal climate (hot and humid).
Fleas, Ticks, and Mosquitoes - Living Conditions
There are a few reasons why the warm, muggy Texas weather are ideal conditions for fleas and ticks:
Temperature: Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes flourish in warm climates, preferring somewhere in the 70 to 85 degree range.
Humidity: These pests require a high humidity level, ideally around 70%, for survival.
Landscape: Ticks generally live in wooded areas with leaves and bushes, while fleas like shaded, damp spaces. Both rural and suburban areas, including the garden or dog park, could play hunting ground for these creepy crawlers.
Mosquitoes are mostly found near and around water sources, but thrive in gardens.
Light: Direct sunlight and a lack of moisture are a nightmare for fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes as they prefer dark, humid areas.
In-Home Treatments: Fleas and Ticks
Pets catch fleas and ticks outdoors and track them inside. Now what? The good news is: most flea treatments are also great at tick prevention and repel mosquitoes.
The active ingredient you need to look for is cedar essential oils. This natural oil repels, kills, and prevents fleas and ticks. But, read your labels and don't make your own concoction at home; too much essential oil can be toxic for animals.
Although it's a great mosquito deterrent, steer clear of citronella candles and chemically potent pesticides. These are a quick fix but can be harmful and toxic to pets and your lawn! Try our Wondercide selection - this is a great natural remedy for pest control.
Here are the first prevention steps you should take:
First things first–give them a bath with Kin + Kind!
- Fleas hate water, so use lots of it in tandem with a natural flea treatment shampoo.
- Then comb them down with a fine-toothed flea comb, like this one, paying special attention to the face, stomach, and tail.
- Bathe no more than once every other week (over-bathing can dry out your dog or cat's skin), and groom with a flea comb daily.
Tomlinson's Pro Tip: Kill fleas by dipping your flea comb in soapy water prior to brushing.
Spray It Down:
Spray your furniture, bedding, and house down with Wondercide's Flea & Tick Spray for Pets + Home.
- This natural, essential oil based flea and tick treatment for dogs, cats, and home is proven to kill, repel, and prevent 98-100% of fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes without harmful chemicals, protecting your loved ones smartly and safely.
Tomlinson's Pro Tip: Test your pet's allergies and reactions! Apply a small amount on their fur/coat and wait one hour prior to spraying your home and furniture down.
Vacuuming sucks up 30% of larvae, 60% of flea eggs, and much of the larvae's food supply.
- Be thorough: get under furniture, cushions, etc. and pay extra attention to high traffic areas and your pet’s favorite spots.
- Because fleas can live and reproduce unattended in the vacuum, empty the vacuum bag contents into a plastic bag, freeze, and throw away.
Tomlinson's Pro Tip: Throw a chemical-based flea collar into the vacuum bag to kill any itchy insects sucked up.
Wash your pet's bedding and any washable material they hang around.
- Cover your pet’s bedding and any favorite napping areas with a towel or blanket, and wash every 2-3 days.
- Again, immersion in water kills adult fleas and larvae, so washing your pets bedding every few days knocks out any budding colonies.
Tomlinson's Pro Tip: Spray bedding prior to washing. Or, drop 1 - 2 drops of high quality cedar oil into your wash. NO more than two drops.
Topical Flea Treatments
Flea's are no joke. If you've had it up to high heaven with these fleas, or want to nip them in the bud stat, refer to topical treatments.
These will soothe their skin and repel any unwanted insects - some up to 8 months!
- Flea Collar: Try Nature's Protection
- Shampoo: Try Wondercide Shampoo Bar
- Preventative Medicine: Try K9 Advantix or Advantage for Cats
Alone these topical treatments can spar with the best of fleas. But using a topical + shampoo together is an unstoppable flea deterrent.
Yard Work - Prevent & Protect!
Pets usually catch fleas outside in their favorite shaded spots.
Thankfully, the outdoors is a relatively easy arena for preventative flea-fighting. Adult fleas and larvae can’t survive for very long in direct sunlight, so focus your efforts on shady cool spots where your dog or cat likes to hang.
Fleas and ticks love hanging out in tall grass. Keep the grass short and yard neat to eliminate any patches or leaf piles.
Fleas drown, so hose down any flea-prone spots (shady areas, your pet’s favorite spots, etc) with water every few days.
Treat with Diatomaceous Earth (DE):
Diatomaceous Earth can be applied outdoors and is safe for dogs and cats. Simply dust over shady spots (using an old sock or glove) once a month or as needed. Let the dust settle out of the air. Once clear, continue play as usual.
Treat with Wondercide Yard & Garden:
Wondercide is an insect repellant and can be sprayed in your yard and garden. It's safe for dogs and cats! It hooks up directly up to your garden hose and requires no additional dilution or mixing - just spray, let it settle, and resume your outdoor games.
Aftercare: Soothing & Calming
All that itching and scratching can leave your dog and cat's skin irritated. After you've rid your home, yard, and pet of fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes give them the spa treatment they deserve.
Here are some Tomlinson's approved pampering products your doggo and kitty will love:
- Wondercide Skin Tonic
- Major Darling Sensitive Shampoo
- Farm Dogs Natural Itch and Wound Care
- Skout's Honor Hydrogel for Dogs and Cats
- Aroma Paws Conditioning Spray
Now you're ready for an adventure!
Tomlinson's is your go-to pet supply store for natural, healthy pet products in Austin and the Central Texas region. Let us help prepare you and your pet for your outdoor adventures online or in-store.
Visit our shop full of products sold through team members trained in animal nutrition. Pass by our stores with your adorable pet for some treat samples and loving ear rubs.