How to Kill Fleas Without Poisoning Pets

by on 26/04/12 at 8:58 am

When fighting fleas, I like to start with the big guns. That would be your vacuum cleaner. Fleas have four life stages, 3 of which are fairly immobile. The eggs, larvae and pupa stages are unable to jump away from the vacuum cleaner the way adults can. Their populations will be close to where pets sleep. A good thing to remember is that the eggs are not sticky. They can roll off the dog easily during a good scratching session and end up in the carpet. A thorough vacuuming will pull the eggs out of the carpet, eliminating the next generation of vermin. During the warmer months of the year, eggs hatch at a higher rate than in winter. So new generations can spring up quickly. If you find yourself in the middle of a flea infestation, daily vacuuming is a must.

My low tech choice for flea removal is the humble flea comb. I have two cats that turn to “pudding” when I start to comb them. They seem to know that they’ll feel so much better when the fleas come off. They relax and go limp letting me turn them every which way. The other two cats believe the flea comb is a torture device and run and hide. The way I do the combing requires two hands, one to comb and the other to cover the fleas to get them to the water.

The flea comb works well for my “pudding” cats, but for the other two I found the flea zapper a little easier. The zapper is a small battery operated comb that zaps the fleas as you comb the cat. If you have to hold on to the cat with one hand, zapping with the other is more effective than a regular comb. It works well on pudding cats too. They recognize the sound it makes and will come and wait their turn to be combed with it. If your cat enjoys being combed, getting used to the zapper doesn’t take long at all.

Trapping fleas is another way to get rid of adult fleas. You can buy traps or make one yourself by plugging a nightlight into a low wall outlet and setting a pan of water underneath. Be sure to put a drop or two of dish washing liquid in the water. I use Dawn. Fleas are attracted to the light and jump toward it falling into the water to drown. Without the dish soap, they will crawl up the side of the pan and escape. If the nightlight isn’t bright enough, you might try a desk lamp on the floor. I’ve done that when I didn’t have a low outlet in a room.

Dealing with fleas is the price we pay for keeping our furry friends comfortable, happy and healthy.

Susan Albritton lives in Texas with a multi-pet family. For more tips and ideas on killing fleas visit

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