How to Get Rid of Fleas – From House, Cats, and Dogs

Table of Contents


How do I get rid of fleas in my home? Treating the flea problem.

Do you have a flea problem? Are there fleas in your carpet, fleas in your yard, fleas on your pets, fleas in your bed?

I really want to help you get rid of fleas but first you have to understand that it is not an easy task. Ignore all of the ‘quick fixes’ that you may read on the internet. They are unlikely work.

To get rid of fleas from your house and pets you need to tackle the overall problem. Not only do you need to treat your dog or cat, you also need to treat your house.

By using the following instructions you will be more likely to rid your house and pets of fleas.

This is a long article on flea control. Please read all of it. Unfortunately there are no short cuts.

Have an understanding of the process

Treat pets and house for fleas on the same day
Getting rid of fleas on your cat or dog alone does not tackle the overall flea problem. During the flea cycle only about 5% of fleas are actually living on your dog or cat. The other 95% of fleas (in one stage of the flea life cycle or another) are living in your house or yard. That is why it is so important to kill the fleas in your house and on your cat or dog at the same time.

Here is an example: If you wash your cat or dog today with a flea rinse and you kill 30 fleas that are living on your pet, that means that there are still approximately 570 fleas developing in your house. (see the flea cycle chart)

This is a Do It Yourself method for killing fleas, there is no need to call in the pest exterminator. If you have a flea problem or infestation then you must

Once you have decided to declare this war and kill the fleas in your house, you need to set aside a couple of hours to enter into the battle zone.

Fleas do not have to be a part of pet ownership. Years ago it was assumed that all cats and dogs had fleas but this is just not true today. Flea control has advanced so much that no pet should ever have to suffer one single flea again.

Getting the initial control over fleas is not an easy five minute job but once you have control then maintenance will be easy. Don’t get disheartened if it seems that you get a fresh flea infestation a week or two after using the following flea control method. It is explained to you in this article why this often happens. It has to do with with the flea pupae being impervious to insecticides.

Let’s get on with the job of getting rid of fleas in your house and on your Pets be it Cats of Dogs.
Battle Stations. You can win this war.

How do I break the flea life cycle?

It is important to treat all of your pets and your house on the same day. It is pointless to treat your house and not your pet, it is also pointless to treat you pet and not your house. This is the only way you will get total flea control.

STEP 1 – VacuumKill fleas

Your vacuum cleaner is your number one weapon in the war

Your first step is to vacuum vacuum vacuum! Vacuum your entire house paying particular attention to corners, dark crevices, under furniture, under beds, pet beds, rugs and especially around baseboards (also called skirting boards). Put the nozzle attachment on your vacuum cleaner and thoroughly vacuum around all baseboards and edges of fixtures.

The vibrations from vacuuming also stimulates the fleas to emerge from their cocoons and thus they will be exposed to the insecticide that will be used

THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE VACUUMING UP (even though you can’t see them):


Fleas that are living on your cat or dog lay eggs. The eggs drop off your pet and land on your carpet or floor.

Vacuum them up. Get rid of the flea eggs in your carpet.


The eggs hatch and become larvae. These little worm like creature have hair like bristles that enable them to move around. They avoid the light and move to crevices, corners, under furniture, in cracks between floor boards and along baseboards.

Vacuum them up. Get rid of the flea larvae in your carpet.


After a while the larvae pupate. This means that they spin a cocoon around themselves and begin a change. In the cocoon they are changing into adult fleas. It is similar to a caterpillar which spins a cocoon and then emerges as a butterfly.

Vacuum them up. Get rid of the flea pupae in your carpet.

The more of the pupae you vacuum up the better the outcome. The cocoon surrounding the developing flea is water tight and impervious to insecticides.

When you have finished vacuuming dispose of the contents of your vacuum cleaner completely.

STEP 2 – Spray Insecticide

Flea Treatment For your
House & Yard

The products shown here are for illustration purposes only

When choosing an insecticide read the label. Look for the ingredient IGR (Insect Growth Regulator)

IGR is the most important part of the whole flea control process

Spray all carpets, rugs, floors, soft furnishings and places your pet sleeps with an aerosol, flea bomb or fogger that kills flea eggs, larvae and emerging adult fleas. Check the label of sprays for active ingredients. Use one that contains IGR. Make sure you spray into every nook and cranny and pay special attention around baseboards and under rugs and furniture. Spray under beds and under couches etc. Developing fleas avoid the light and make their way to dark areas.
It is difficult to suggest flea control products worldwide as insecticide laws vary from country to country. Below are a few suggestions of products that contain IGR.

Precor 2000 Plus (US & Canada)
Hartz 4 in 1 Flea Fogger (US & Canada)
IG Regulator (US & Canada)
Buy online or on ebay or check your pet store for availability.
Mortein Flea Bomb (Australia)
Can be bought in most supermarkets.
More Flea Articles

How to kill fleas on young kittens
Flea allergy dermatitis
Cat Fleas – Dog Fleas- Human Fleas

Vacuuming is very important pre insecticide spraying but not post spraying. Do not vacuum for at least two weeks after spraying.

What is IGR?

IGR is short for Insect Growth Regulator. IGR is Birth Control for Fleas. This protein works on the developing flea eggs and larvae and stops fleas from developing to maturity so they cannot lay eggs.

Flea bombs and flea foggers containing IGR are very effective at killing fleas but the insecticide does not always reach under beds, furniture and rugs. Flea bombs and foggers are designed to be let off in the middle of a room. Be sure to move what furniture you can so as to enable the spray to penetrate carpets and flooring beneath. It is possible to use a flea bomb or fogger as you would a regular hand held aerosol by not clicking the button into the lock position thus enabling you to spray under furniture without moving it first.

Precor 2000 Plus is a hand held flea fogger. It has both a knockdown agent and a long lasting insect growth regulator. The fog can be directed under furniture and appliances.

Follow the instructions that come with the flea spray, flea bomb or fogger and remember to remove all fish, reptiles and other living creatures from the room. This treatment may kill them.

After spraying the insecticide try not to vacuum for about two weeks as the IGR component will have a residual effect.

Read This – Very Important

It is important to note that while the fleas are in the pupae stage (in their cocoons) they are not affected by insecticides. The cocoons are watertight and protect the developing flea. This is why you may think you have killed all the fleas and larvae in your home but two weeks later a new flea infestation may occur as new fleas emerge from these cocoons. If this happens you will need to repeat the process.

Don’t Forget about your Yard and Garden

Do fleas live in the yard?

Yes, you must also tackle your yard and garden. There is no need to purchase special yard spray as you can use the same spray that you sprayed your house with. Spray around where the pet sleeps, in crevices, gravel and sandy areas. If you live in a high set house you will need to spray under the house. Spray patios, verandahs, kennels and nooks and crannies. Areas of the yard which are in sunlight should be OK as the larvae tend to avoid bright places.

You can also let off flea bombs or flea foggers under your house on a windless day.

Next wash all of your pets bedding and soft toys. Shake them well and hang them in the sunlight to dry

Home Remedy to kill fleas?

You may not like using insecticides and chemicals around your house but a home remedy to kill fleas will not work. You will have to use an insecticide and more importantly you should use an insecticide containing IGR. Once you have broken the flea life cycle you will not have to spray on a regular basis. Once the fleas have gone you can put the insecticides away for ever.

STEP 3 – Treat your pets

How do I get rid of fleas on my cat or dog? Which flea products do I use on my pet?

The older generation of flea control products (Flea powders, flea collars and dips) are now completely obsolete. The latest treatments are top-spots or tablets, which are much safer for both pets and humans.

Tablets for Treatment of Fleas on Dogs and Cats

Comfortis is Highly Recommended

Comfortis is a chewable, beef-flavored tablet that rapidly kills fleas and prevents flea infestations on dogs and cats for a full month or more. Comfortis starts to kill fleas within 30 minutes of administration and will kill 100% of fleas within 4 hours.

Mild side effects can occur. The most common side effect is vomiting. For more information visit the Comfortis Website

Capstar Tablets provide treatment of flea infestations on dogs, puppies, cats and kittens four weeks of age and older and two pounds of body weight or greater as well as for pregnant or nursing dogs and cats.

Fast acting formula begins working within 30 minutes and will kill almost all adult fleas within four hours of ingestion.

If your pet gets re-infested with fleas, you can safely give another dose as often as once per day. Capstar does not last for a month or more as does COMFORTIS. (see above) It is a short term treatment.
For more information visit the Capstar Website.

Topical Application Flea Products for Flea Control on Dogs and Cats

  • Advantage.
    Treatment for Fleas flea treatment cats advantage
  • Advantage Multi
    Treatment of Fleas and lice
    Heartworm prevention
    Treatment of gastrointestinal worms
    Treatment and prevention of lungworms in dogs
    Control of ear mites in cats and dogs
    Control of sarcoptic mange in dogs
    Control of Demodex mites in dogs
  • Advocate.
    Treatment of Fleas and lice
    Heartworm prevention
    Treatment of gastrointestinal worms
    Treatment and prevention of lungworms in dogs
    Control of ear mites in cats and dogs
    Control of sarcoptic mange in dogs
    Control of Demodex mites in dogs flea treatment cats advocate
  • Frontline.
    Treatment for Fleas flea treatment cats Frontline
  • Frontline Plus.
    Treatment for Fleas and Ticks
    flea treatment cats
  • Revolution
    Treatment Fleas
    Treatment for heartworm
    Treatment for ear mites
    Treatment for hookworm
    Do not use on sick, debilitated,
    or underweight cats.
    Do not use on cats less than 9 weeks of age
    or less than 1kg body weight. Flea Treatment for Cats

Advantage Multi is the same product as Advocate. It is marketed under Advantage Multi in the US, Canada, New Zealand and Central America

You may think that topical applications or tablets are expensive but it can be false economy to use anything else. Most of the top spot products or tablets advise that you use them monthly but once you have broken the flea cycle in your home you will be able to use them less often. Of course keep in mind that a visiting pet or a neighbor’s cat in your yard can start the cycle all over again. The same can be said if you visit a friend’s or relative’s house with your pet. Your pet may pick up half a dozen fleas and once again the cycle begins.

How can fleas harm my cat or dog?

Fleas feed on your pet’s blood and make your cat uncomfortable A heavy infestation can cause it to become anaemic and unwell. Flea infestations have been known to kill kittens. Some individual animals are allergic to flea saliva and this causes the pet abject misery with constant scratching and self mutilation. The most common allergy dermatitis in cats and dogs is a flea allergy. Read more on Flea Allergy Dermatitis. Fleas also spread tapeworm from one animal to another.

I would advise that you have a chat to your veterinarian or vet nurse about which flea product is most suitable for your pet.

Two weeks later and the fleas are back!!!

Expect to see a few new fleas emerging for up to two weeks. These will be the fleas that were in the pupal stage during treatment. (The developing fleas in their cocoons)

Remember that while the fleas are in the pupae stage (in their cocoons) they are not affected by insecticides. The cocoons are watertight and protect the developing flea. This is why you may think you have killed all the fleas and larvae in your home but a week or two later you are still seeing adult fleas.

You may have to repeat the treatment for house and pets again after a couple of weeks if you are still seeing large numbers of fleas, especially if the initial infestation was particularly heavy. Remember, you can get rid of fleas forever!

Once you have treated your pets and house for fleas try not to let them come in contact with other animals that are infested. Politely ask visitors not to bring their pets to your house as one visit by a flea infested dog or cat can start the flea cycle all over again.

For maintenance… Watch your cat or dog for tell tale scratching and re-apply the top spot if you see even a single flea. Don’t delay as fleas multiply very quickly. Cats and Dogs rarely scratch themselves unless they have a flea or a skin condition. Vacuum thoroughly any area your pet goes. Wash bedding and toys often.

What is a flea cycle?

The flea population of any given area comprises of 50% eggs 35% larvae 10% pupae and only 5% biting adults.

Fleas lay their eggs after a blood feed on the animal but these flea eggs quickly drop off on to the carpet, floor, bedding and outside areas. In fact anywhere your pet goes becomes a battle zone.

The life cycle of the flea depends on temperature, humidity and source of food. The life cycle of the flea from egg to adulthood can vary from two weeks to eight months.How to kill fleas

An adult female flea can lay up to 600 eggs in its life time.

Eggs can hatch anywhere between two days and two weeks.

After the eggs hatch they become larvae. These are little worm like insects that get deep into carpet fibres, in cracks between floor boards, under beds, furniture and rugs and around skirting boards. They also thrive in sand and gravel. They feed on dead skin cells, organic material and the blood rich faeces of adult fleas. Although they don’t have legs they can move around and make their way to corners and crevices

The little worm like larvae develop over a period of one to three weeks going through four moulting stages then spin themselves a silken cocoon, just like a caterpillar. This is called the pupae stage. They can remain in their cocoons for several months but will hatch if conditions are right. Vibrations can trigger them to hatch and this is the reason why you can be suddenly covered by fleas after a house has been left unoccupied for a long period of time.

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