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The most effective methods of flea control are insecticides, vacuuming, and controlling the environment in ways that make getting and keeping fleas difficult. Insecticides are generally considered a safe method of flea control, but there is some debate on using these chemicals around both people and animals. If the fleas are indoors, vacuuming is a highly recommended method of reducing the number of adult and pre-adult fleas, but this method is not likely to get rid of fleas by itself. Controlling the environment is essentially prohibiting or restricting outdoor playtime for pets and grooming them on a regular basis.
Insecticides are a very popular method of flea control used and recommended by many pet owners, veterinarians, and professional pest control companies. For example, the insecticide in Advantage® Flea Control is called imidacloprid, and it is used on millions of dogs and cats worldwide. Even widely used insecticides are not without side effects, however. The potential side effects of imidacloprid include skin irritation and fur loss in pets, in addition to eye irritation in their owners. Even though these side effects are rare, some pet owners would rather not risk causing harm to their pets and opt to use more natural methods.
In combination with another method of flea control, vacuuming can help speed up the process of getting rid of fleas. A vacuum can suck up flea eggs, larvae and pupae that thrive in carpeted areas of a home. This everyday machine also sends vibrations through the whole floor, disturbing pre-adult fleas and encouraging them to hatch sooner. When paired with insecticides or all natural methods, a flea infestation can be gone weeks sooner. After each cleaning session, the contents of the vacuum should be placed in a sealed bag and thrown away in the outdoor garbage.
Pet owners can control their pets’ environments to reduce or virtually eliminate the likelihood of fleas. Regular grooming with a fine-toothed comb can keep fleas to a minimum, as can keeping pets mostly indoors. For example, primarily indoor pets are unlikely to develop a flea infestation, unless the yard is infested or they come in contact with infested animals. Some studies show that dogs and cats can live a longer, healthier life when kept primarily indoors. When outdoors, fleas can be the least of their problems; rough weather conditions, diseases from strays, and being killed or harmed by larger animals are all possibilities faced by outdoor animals.
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