DEAR PAW’S CORNER:
Help! It’s January, and I shouldn’t have fleas in my house, but they’re everywhere. I don’t give my dog or cat a monthly flea treatment in the winter months because usually the arrival of cold weather means no more fleas. Why are they here, now?
— Scratching Madly in Springfield, Massachusetts
While cold weather does send fleas into a dormant state, it’s never guaranteed that they’ll disappear until spring. And a warm location like a nicely heated house or apartment can keep fleas active and multiplying.
If you have an active infestation, your pets need to be treated for fleas even if you don’t normally do so. Treat them with the solution you use during the summer months — whether that’s a topical monthly flea treatment, a flea collar or a bath. Comb their coats daily to remove fleas, flea dust and eggs.
Likewise, your home needs to be treated for fleas. Remove your pets from the home completely, if possible, or sequester them in one section of the house. Use a home flea treatment on the floors and furniture, paying attention to corners and crevices. Let the treatment sit for the recommended amount of time and then vacuum the room thoroughly.
To prevent another infestation, brush your pets once a day and vacuum your home twice a week throughout the winter. Continue to treat your pets with a flea repellent or preventative. It’s not ideal, but by attacking the problem now, you’ll be less likely go through this again next year, or even next summer.
Send your questions or pet care tips to [email protected]
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