San Marcos Vet Speaks: How to get rid of fleas for good this summer!

Every year in the spring and summer months our practice starts to see more and more itchy dogs. Some of these dogs have allergies, or skin infections – but many of them have fleas! Fleas are a huge problem in San Marcos. Fleas love all the same things we love about San Marcos – the great weather, and the wonderful outdoor areas that are dog friendly like our dog parks, hiking/walking trails, and open space areas. Every year we hear stories from clients who live in pet-friendly apartments having problems with fleas. The reason for this is many fleas will migrate between rooms or even stay dormant in carpets between tenants only to come out in full force soon after the new tenant moves in.  Not exactly what you need to be worrying about while moving right?

Getting a flea infestation under control is difficult, costly, and stressful for both you and your pet. If your pet has fleas the biggest thing to do is get them on a monthly flea preventative. However if you want to get your infestation under control faster, you should probably also treat your home from flea eggs and larvae, along with your backyard. We recommend combining a good flea preventative like Activyl, or Bravecto with treating the environment. Treating the environment involves a lot of cleaning. You will want to change the bedding and wash all furniture your pet lays on in the laundry. For things like couches and mattresses there are actually no good cleaners out right now that will destroy flea eggs and larvae, so you will have to rely on your flea preventative to help with reoccurrence. Using Borax on carpeted floors (sprinkle on then vacuum up, pets should not be present for this and you should wear a mask). Wood flours should be cleaned and Borax applied to any cracks or junctions (again make sure to vacuum or wipe away afterwards). For the outdoor areas you can hire a pest-control company to use a non-toxic spray for you lawn and outdoor area. The combination of all these things will get your flea problem under control in about 3-6 months. After which time we recommend keeping your pet on a flea preventative long-term to avoid this situation in the future.

There are a lot of different flea preventatives out there. What you need to know about them is that none of them repel fleas. Depending on what part of the lifecycle of the flea that the product works on, and how fast that product works to kill the flea will give you how long you can potentially see fleas on your pet. If you look at the label packaging you should be able to find out that information.

Why we prefer Activyl to Other Topical/Spot on Products: First you have to understand that safety is our top concern, and effectiveness if our second concern. The active ingredient in Activyl is that kills fleas is Indoxacarb. This ingredient actually doesn’t do anything to mammals because we do not have the enzyme to activate it. Insects however do that the enzyme, and this is what makes Activyl unique – no other product on the market uses this technology. Activyl works, and works quickly. Even though the labeled packaging says it can take 8-12 hours, we have seen the product start to work within 15-30 minutes. Fleas start to become drunk looking, slowed, and sluggish.

Why we love Bravecto: Again safety is our first concern – we have found the Bravecto in comparison to other oral products provides the best bang for your buck with less side effects. Secondly it comes in a chewable treat-like form, and only has to be given every 3 months! Since it is given orally your pet can run around in the water and be bathed as much as you want. Bravecto kills fleas within 2 hours!


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