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Thread: Pet owners: how do you deal with fleas?

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    Member Catt's Avatar
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    Default Pet owners: how do you deal with fleas?

    hi y'all - how do people keep the fleas away? I've tried the regular chemical treatments from the vet - unsuccessful (and in fact other local pet owners have told me they are becoming less and less effective) - tried Diatomaceous Earth - mildly successful, but not completely. No matter HOW clean I keep the inside of the house, the stray & feral problem on the beach is so bad that any time the animals go outside, they continually pick up more fleas. In 14 years my pets have never had ONE FLEA, until now. And i cannot live like this. not gonna do it, wouldn't be prudent.

    believe it or not, this is the thing that will drive me off the beach -- not any of the other issues Matt and others here always speak about for new residents; all that stuff is minor compared to this. if I cannot relieve this constant suffering of my poor pets I am going to have to move away from my wonderful, affordable, beach apartment that I love so much, cause it would seem my only recourse is to move to an area without the stray/feral issue. Many of my friends in various other neighborhoods around Mia & FLL have pets, but because the area around their home isn't infested, their pets do fine.

    I'd love to hear any advice others may have on this topic - thanks so much!
    Last edited by Catt; 04-11-2012 at 03:42 PM.

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    Default Re: Pet Owners - Advice Please - how to deal with the FLEAS??????

    When my dogs get fleas I just bathe them consistently and I do use flea collars. I have noticed the breed/coat of the animal affects how well the fleas do as well. For example the Shetland Shepherds in my neighborhood all have issues with fleas. While my Greyhound is practically flealess. Also some people have told me Petsmart sells some $10 bottle of organic flea treatment stuff that comes as a sort of oil you rub on the coat, I have heard good things about that.

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    Default Re: Pet Owners - Advice Please - how to deal with the FLEAS??????

    There are some useful tips towards the end of this older thread:

    My dog has fleas!

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    Default Re: Pet Owners - Advice Please - how to deal with the FLEAS??????

    thanks rk, i did read that and have actually done all that already - they're not in the house - i did the fogger and also the D.E. a few weeks later, just to make extra sure, and there were no bugs in the carpets, bedding or furniture either time. so that's good.

    i just can't seem to get the cat's bodies free of them even WITH treating them all the time - which they hate. they are annoyed and distressed from constantly putting crap in their fur & skin, spraying and combing them all the time. i'm just not willing to keep pissing them off and making them miserable - there HAS to be a more effective way i can treat them once only every so often, instead of constantly pestering them.

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    Default Re: Pet Owners - Advice Please - how to deal with the FLEAS??????

    Hi Catt,

    I'm here to help! I have been through fleas with Ginger and it's terrible. The thing is the life cycle of the flea makes it so hard to control them-I believe for every 5 you see on your pet there are 95 in the home. Gross, but true. And if you miss one monthly flea treatment you're screwed, again because of the life cycle of the flea and the fact that they can exist in varying stages in your home without you knowing it.

    Don't worry about the 5 or 7 live fleas on your pet, they're not the real problem. When your pet walks throughout the house your pet is like a salt shaker, sprinkling flea eggs everywhere. One female flea lays 95 flea eggs per day, so the flea eggs that are invisible to you are the real problem. They will hatch and then jump on your cats. You need to treat your home first. The best treatment is Flea Busters powder. You can buy it from South Beach Animal Hospital. You sprinkle it around the perimeter of the floors and work it in with a broom. Follow the directions exactly and it should work with one application.

    Also, are you buying your montly flea treatments online? There are counterfeit medicines out there that are made in China and don't work. Buy medicines only from your vet. You should really go see Dr. Tenzer at SB Animal Hospital and he can give you the best flea treatments for your cats. There are lots of dangerous flea collars and treatments on the market. Dr. Tenzer knows what works and what can cause cats to have a seizure. I know Capstar is available for dogs, but I'm not sure about cats. That kills adult fleas on your pet instantly.

    I'm feeling itchy just writing this! Now is a good time to wash every piece of linen in hot water and dry twice in the dryer (or just throw old bedding, carpeting away-that would be the best). Here's an article I wrote..read the last section and please keep us posted.

    http://www.miamibeach411.com/news/dog-walks-groomers

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    Default Re: Pet Owners - Advice Please - how to deal with the FLEAS??????

    Here's the section I wrote on flea treatment..but keep in mind this is for a dog.

    The fleas in Miami are fierce. The city regularly sprays the dog parks but you need to be vigilant about applying a topical monthly flea medicine. Don’t forget and skip a month like I did and beware of counterfeit flea medicine that’s permeated the market (only purchase it at your Veterinarian’s office). I lived through a nightmare when my dog had fleas but you don’t have to. According to Doctor Tenzer’s staff at South Beach Animal Hospital, “Forget what the package says, and apply Advantage every three weeks.” If you discover fleas on your dog drop what you’re doing and head to the vet for a battle plan. Vacuum the entire apartment and wash all linens and your hound’s bed in hot water. Treat your apartment with Flea Busters powder-it’s not toxic like other insecticides on the market, and gets the job done. Put your pup on Capstar, a pill that kills all adult fleas in 24 hours and give your dog a bath while killing fleas on contact with an alcohol soaked cotton ball. Repeat this entire process until you’re flea free.

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    Default Re: Pet Owners - Advice Please - how to deal with the FLEAS??????

    thanks Christy - that is SO very useful! I have already treated the house twice - fogged and then about 2 weeks later, also powdered the whole place with Diatomaceous Earth.... also spray the whole place every month with regualr pest-control flea-& bedbug chemical spray..... washed all the linens; threw away all the cat bedding and towels, etc. and replaced them with new. Am about to wash the linens again as i've had them bagged with the DE for a week now. (and i've seen no dead fleas anywhere in the house after any of these treatments, and no live ones either in the rug (just area rugs on wood floors - i have no carpet) or furniture, none jumping around or on me). I vacuum every day with a shop-vac, which has a good layer of D.E. inside it also, to kill any bugs and eggs that get in there - nonetheless I dump it out and replace the DE frequently anyway. I also have DE all over the house - sprinkled everywhere they like to lay and relax, on their bedding and favorite hangout spots, on the welcome mat and around the doorway and balcony, and in all the furniture between sofa cushions, etc. (the furniture is leather - is that better or worse than cloth???). I've also started flea-combing them with the alcohol-soaked rag at the ready, every 1-2 days.

    i've only bought the Frontline once so far as this is my first flea problem; I got it from the vet. someone advised me that if the Frontline is not working, I should try Advantix, as animals can have different reactions to different meds; i thought that sounded quite sensible. my older cat will not keep a collar on, over 14 years she has removed every single one i've managed to get on her; she is a freaking feline Houdini, lol. (and in any case i really don't want those chemicals to be right on them 24-7 the way a collar does)

    I went to "Pet House Clinic" at 68th & Collins; that's where I got the Frontline. and trust me i have not missed ANY treatments - i gave them a little booster at 2 weeks instead of waiting the whole month, and then treated them again after the month had passed. plus used the DE on them in-between. They hate me now.

    just Frontlined them again a couple days ago - and every time I do, they seem to stop scratching for a little while, nonetheless i examine every spot they lay in, and there's no flea 'dirt' for a day or two only- then it comes back -- even if i'm not pulling any fleas off of them with a thorough flea-combing, i see the 'dirt'.

    i've been very worried about doing the Frontline before the 30 days as i was afraid of poisoning them, thanks for posting that above, it makes me feel a bit better. but still - UGH - there HAS to be a way i can live normally without having my entire freaking life be in service to this. i really will have to give up Florida altogether if this is considered normal living.

    So this Flea Busters powder is better than the DE? I will give that a try - especially cause the DE is making ME sick; even though i used a mask i still managed to breathe in a cloud of it, and got a crappy cold and cough from it. will get the Busters powder tomorrow!!!! (eta: it was not Dr Tenzer I talked to before - i got him mixed up with another local vet. So, i will indeed go over there tomorrow.)

    thanks so much, i really appreciate your advice!
    Last edited by Catt; 04-12-2012 at 02:17 AM.

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    Default Re: Pet Owners - Advice Please - how to deal with the FLEAS??????

    Yes, get the flea busters powder! Do they make a capstar for cats? Right now Ginger is on Comfortis, which I would switch to.

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    Default Re: Pet Owners - Advice Please - how to deal with the FLEAS??????

    It looks like Capstar is available for cats, yes - and it looks like i can buy it at PetCo without an Rx.

    according to what i'm reading about the F.B. powder, it does the same thing as the DE - it desiccates the fleas and eggs - dries them out and kills them. However, as i'm reading the instructions on how to use it, I see i didn't do it quite the right way. Maybe I will ask when i get to SoBe Animal Hospital, about these two different methods.

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    Default Re: Pet Owners - Advice Please - how to deal with fleas?

    I admire you two ladies as I could not cope with a pet that brought fleas in. You are both good pet owners.

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    Default Re: Pet Owners - Advice Please - how to deal with fleas?

    Hey Catt,

    Once again, it's best to get all pet medicine from the vet. Even Petco can have counterfeit stuff. Make sure the pets are out of the house when you apply the flea busters powder. It's not too hard..you just work it into the corner of the walls with a broom.

    Good luck!
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    Default Re: Pet Owners - Advice Please - how to deal with fleas?

    Hi Catt,

    My six little babies have fleas because they are indoor / outdoor, and we have posums, and all other kinds of animals roaming around. Not to mention, we don't use pesticides, spray or bomb.

    I don't feel like they suffer but I do keep them on their treatment every month (that I get from 1-800 pet meds, against Christy's good advice). I actually give it to them every 3 weeks, as opposed to once a month.

    The doctors have informed me the medicines are not working like they used to. And I notice that some months, the fleas hop right off them after they get the medicine, and other times they don't.

    I think the best thing to do is to take Christy's advice, and maybe fog, and take the cats out of the environment for a few days, then bring them back in after the fleas are gone.

    Honestly, if you obsess about it, it will make you crazy. The only way to prevent would be to keep them in 100% of the time and make sure your home is completely free of them. And kudos to Christy - nobody can give you better advice than she can with this sort of thing.
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    Default Re: Pet Owners - Advice Please - how to deal with fleas?

    I agree with Michelle I help my dogs out, but I am not on a flea conquest. The way I see it is a happy dog that will roll in the dirt when playing at the dog park will get fleas period. It is gonna happen so I won't over worry about it. My dogs have always seemed fine though like I said some fur types allow more fleas and some less usually I have short hair dogs.

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    Default Re: Pet Owners - Advice Please - how to deal with fleas?

    thanks everyone, so much. I'm trying not to obsess, just trying to get a handle on it...it's the first time i've had to deal with this, so it is very helpful and calming to read the various POV's you've all shared.

    The thought of living with BUGS on the cats as a constant, really skeeves me. I've lived in other tropical climates and have always managed to keep a super-clean and bug-free home, even in Hawaii and Okinawa, where the bugs are awful -- so i have what i consider to be a reasonable expectation, of being able to do the same here.

    but yes, as i said, I've already treated the house twice - fogged, and then powdered the whole house, and the cats, with the diatomaceous earth, and i keep D.E. sprinkled around the doorway, outside welcome mat, and where they like to lay down. None of the house treatments yielded any dead fleas during cleanup, and also i've never had any jump on me from the floor or rug - so i really don't think there are fleas IN the house. I'm fairly sure I got the cats treated before it got to that - when this first happened, at the same time they were at the vets getting de-bugged, is when I first fogged the house.

    nonetheless, just to make sure -- for these past two days i've been running a test -- have had one of those warm-light sticky flea traps out, to determine for sure IF there are fleas IN the house - and there are not. Not one flea in the trap.

    after sleeping on it, and thinking some more, i've decided that since i'm not keen on powdering the whole house again, and because i cannot keep spending money to board the cats again while i treat the house - (there is nowhere else to put them) -- i'm only going to do the Fleabusters powder IF there are fleas in the house - and since i have not seen any dead ones after either treating the house, or putting out the trap, i'm holding off on going through the powdering all over again, it was a huge stinkin mess the first time i did it and made me sick as well, even though i used a mask and was careful. So I think my next step will be the Capstar, to kill the bugs on the cats bodies - which i'll inquire about from Dr. Tenzer. I'm really grateful for the recommendation to him, since I wasn't at all sure which vet was the best one, but he sure seems awesome.

    At this point, i am only seeing a little flea dirt where the cats lay down..... and once in a while i pull one or two off of their bodies when i comb them. What i'm most concerned about now is keeping them off the kitties' bodies - i want them to be comfortable and not scratching, and not having constantly irritated skin, (for past few days this definitely seems better though), and of course not carrying more eggs around on them. The traps can be left on 24/7, which i will continue to do, in order to monitor what's going on inside the apt. and of course to catch any that might be around.

    and yes, this: The doctors have informed me the medicines are not working like they used to. And I notice that some months, the fleas hop right off them after they get the medicine, and other times they don't" - is also what i'm discovering.

    and trust me jess, i can't cope with it either. only doing it cause i have no other choice. UGH.! lol
    Last edited by Catt; 04-13-2012 at 03:30 PM.

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    Default Re: Pet Owners - Advice Please - how to deal with fleas?

    Yes, I'm the best one for flea advice! Michelle I think by using the flea medicine every 3 weeks you're controlling the population. It might be hard to have zero fleas with 6 cats- I think no matter what you do you'll see one or two every now and then.

    Catt, another good way to determine if you have fleas inside is to put small cups of water on the floor. If they're jumping around they'll land in the water and you'll see them. Can't you keep the cats outside while you do the flea busters powder?

    The thing that's so bad about fleas is they gave Ginger dermatitis. To keep her skin healthy I use one pump of omega 3 fish oil on her breakfast and bathe her with a Rx shampoo that Dr. Tenzer recommended. At least dogs are ok with baths-I know cats hate them!

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    Default Re: Pet Owners - Advice Please - how to deal with fleas?

    ah, Christy, thanks again for your useful and helpful input..... funny, i've done the water-bowl thing without even intending to - the kitty's water bowls are on the floor, and no fleas (or any other bugs either) are in the water.

    i now have ONE flea caught in the trap, after a week of using it - that indicates to me that it got one off the cats! lol

    one of them appears to be flea-free, the other still has one or two i am catching and removing every few days.

    so it seems i've gotten the major problem under some control, and i appreciate all the input here - it has really helped my own peace of mind.

    still thinking of moving out of this building though; as much as i love the apartment, i'm just not interested in having to do all this 'stuff' every single day just to have a life free of bugs. to me, that should be a basic fundamental, not a war i have to fight every day.

    so living in a cleaner environment without the ongoing exterior hazard, is my goal.

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    Senior Member Doug's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pet Owners - Advice Please - how to deal with fleas?

    One of the best things about living in the desert is that there are no fleas! I'm sure they must be around somewhere, but my cats go in and out all day and hang out with other cats, and I've never seen a solitary flea. I guess they need more moisture to survive.

    Back when I lived in San Diego and in Florida, fleas were a big problem. The worst place was DeLand. I once had a vet who gave me some great advice: instead of buying the little cat-sized Advantage (or Revolution) packets, buy the huge dog size! When it's flea treating time, pour the packet into a test tube, and use a syringe to measure out a size-appropriate dose. Whether you have one pet that you need to treat frequently, or a whole truckload, you'll save a bundle on flea treatments!

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    Default Re: Pet owners: how do you deal with fleas?

    true Doug, in CO and AZ i never had them -- but then again, i never had them in Philly either, even in the summer humidity, likely due to the cold weather insect die-off over winter.

    however, the most relevant comparison is that I did not have them in Ft Lauderdale, and neither do my friends who still live in FLL now - some have just one dog or cat, one has two dogs, and another has two dogs and THREE cats - all the animals go outside in their yards & apt. courtyards, they do the treatments monthly, and have no issues - because their pets are not constantly picking up more from infested surroundings, since there is no stray/feral colony living right outside their doors as there are in many of the Mia Beach neighborhoods. that's the biggest issue around here....
    Last edited by Catt; 04-17-2012 at 02:42 PM.

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    Default Re: Pet owners: how do you deal with fleas?

    Seriously, how do you guys with pets cope with fleas in your house? Don't they bite you? Get in your clothing etc? I don't think I could have a pet with fleas.

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    Default Re: Pet owners: how do you deal with fleas?

    they don't get in clothing, what they are attracted to is a living warm-blooded host - so they mostly are only 'on' the animals' bodies.

    although, if the animals are left untreated, it's possible that it could get to a stage where the fleas are *in* the house too; then if both animals and house are not treated, they can continue to multiply, & get into rugs & carpets, and yes, it's possible that they will bite people too.

    thank goodness I caught it before it got to that.... cause i would be BEYOND skeeved. yuk.
    Last edited by Catt; 04-18-2012 at 04:00 PM.

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