My dog Princess is one of the most important ‘persons’ in my life. Therefore, I’ll always do my best to keep her as happy and as comfortable as possible. The humid temperature in Trinidad and Tobago creates a thriving environment for fleas. I’m sure she becomes slightly annoyed when she has to pause playtime to scratch her ears because of these pests.
No matter how clean your house and yard is, there is a possibility that you and your pet may fall victim to these annoying critters. Their life cycle makes them particularly difficult to eliminate completely. Over the past few months I have been engaged in an all-out war on fleas that I am willing to share with you all.
Understanding Fleas (The Life Cycle)
The flea life cycle consists of four stages:
1. Flea Eggs– The cycle begins when an adult female flea lays eggs after feasting on your pet’s blood. On average, an adult flea can lay 40 eggs per day i.e. 2000 fleas in her lifetime.
2. Flea Larvae– Larvae are light-sensitive and therefore hide away from sunlight in carpets, cracks in concrete, or under rocks, for instance. They feed on ‘flea dirt’ or faecal matter from adult fleas and other organic substances.
3. Flea Pupae– Fleas start to fully develop in this stage. A cocoon protects the pupa until they are ready to emerge.
4. Adult flea– This is the torture stage. As fleas emerge from their cocoons, they are in search of a host (i.e. your dog, cat, or even YOU). Adult fleas cannot lay eggs without first feasting on blood. It is estimated that adult fleas constitute only 5% of the flea population of your home or yard.
Source: Frontline’s website
Understanding the flea life cycle enables you to control flea infestations. Princess has been using Frontline Plus for approximately two years. The manufacturers of Frontline Plus claim that the product:
- Stops flea infestation
- Kills adult fleas, ticks, flea eggs and larvae
- Prevents all flea stages (eggs, larvae, pupae) from developing
- Kills ticks that may transmit diseases
- Provides waterproof effectiveness
- Offers a mighty killing force for a full 30 days
Read more on Frontline Plus
While it has been effective, additional measures are necessary to get the flea problem under control. The following products are essential in my anti-flea fight:
Cypertick– I use this product to spray the yard and the places where Princess frequents.
Salt– I apply salt to sandy areas of the yard to dehydrate hidden fleas.
Flea Shampoo– I rotate between DAWN dishwashing liquid and Scratchex Flea and Tick Conditioning Shampoo during bath time. Even though bath time is an unpleasant experience for all involved, it is an important stage to get rid of any adult fleas in her fur.
Flea traps– I set containers of dishwashing liquid and water in the yard. You would be amazed to see the amount of fleas trapped daily.
Flea comb– I recently started a flea comb on Princess (almost daily). This does a great job to trap adult fleas and flea ‘dirt’.
I decided to try a flea collar as an alternative to Frontline Plus so I bought the Scratchex Flea Collar. However, when I did some research on the possible cancer-causing effects of the pesticides on that collar, I immediately disposed of it. I am not willing to take that risk.
All in all, my current flea fighting regime has been successful. Persistence is the key to eliminate these pests from your pet’s life. Princess now has much less fleas on her coat and the yard is relatively flea-free. Of course, I have to try to keep it that way for Princess’ happiness and my sanity.
Additional Resources- Understanding fleas