This is an updated post from 2014. It's flea season again!
Mr. BFS and I are professional pet sitters, I rescue strays and help them find their owners or new families (here are the steps to take if you find a stray pet), and we are foster parents for SMART Rescue (smartpetz.com). A couple of years ago, I was pet sitting a foster pup named Missy. My best friend ended up adopting her actually, but during that first stint in our house, I found out she was covered in fleas! Ack! I hate parasites.
7 Steps to Eradicate Fleas
Missy had just received her flea and heartworm prevention medicines, but I don't mess around with bugs that bite. I searched online and found a cheap and easy ways to kill fleas. Here is what worked for me.
TRY giving your infected pet a full bath using dishwashing soap or cheap shampoo mixed with a little water and vinegar. Specifically:
1. I used a plastic cup to do a half and half combo of dishwashing soap (off brand Dawn) and water. In the future, I will add a tablespoon of household vinegar too.
2. I started on Missy's head and spread the heavy soap solution all over her, making sure not to miss her legs, the tail, and all of the hard to get spots underneath.
3. I left that to soak for about 5 minutes to allow it to break down the fleas' natural barriers so they could drown.
4. While we waited, I picked off fleas that were trying to abandon ship and watched them go down the drain.
5. We then started the rinsing off process that took a while since my tub doesn't have a sprayer and the faucet doesn't stick out enough to fit a dog under it, so I just used a plastic cup.
6. About halfway through the rinsing, I went through every square inch of this 2o pound dog to pick off any hearty fleas that weren't going easily like the others.
7. Once she was all rinsed off, we did the whole process over again. I was in the bath tub with her for 45 minutes.
I couldn't find anymore fleas or eggs on her so far, all for less than 50 cents of dishwashing soap. She napped afterwards since she did put up with me with no problems for nearly an hour…
Further Steps to Kill Fleas
The fleas got into my brain, so I've already washed her blanket, my clothes from yesterday, and the towels we used for the bath. I also already thoroughly checked Riley and he is flea-free. Tomorrow morning our sheets will be washed. She hasn't been allowed on any carpets yet. If you do vacuum up fleas, remember to toss the bag when you're done. I really hate fleas, ticks, and mosquitos.
Two Other Ways to Kill Fleas on Your Pets
- Capstar is a pill you can pick up from a local vet. It runs about $10 in Houston, TX in 2o16. It causes adult fleas to die within half an hour. I use this on bad flea cases (like the strays I rescue).
- Use Diatomaceous Earth to powder your carpets, wait 48 hours, and then vacuum it all up. It's non-toxic for humans and animals, but it breaks down the flea exoskeleton. Don't put it directly on your pet since it may dry out their skin.
What parasite murdering tips do you have? Any super affordable recipes that may help others?