Getting rid of fleas involves treating both the affected animal and the animal's environment. Flea treatment for pets includes shampoos, powders, collars, spot treatment and oral medication.
A flea bath using a specialty shampoo removes large numbers of fleas quickly, but it is only effective for several days to a week. This method leaves little to no chemical residue but only kills adult fleas. Flea powders perform a similar function with a similar length of effectiveness. Flea collars also kill adult fleas but contain chemicals that absorb into the animal's skin and fat, providing longer lasting control. Spot treatments involve application between the animal's shoulders and are effective for approximately a month. This option controls adult fleas as well as preventing eggs from hatching. Oral medication prevents flea eggs from hatching without killing adult fleas. Using oral treatment in conjunction with another treatment method disrupts the development cycle to effectively stop a flea infestation on the animal.
Getting rid of fleas in the animal's environment is also essential in permanently solving a flea problem. Nearly 90 percent of the flea population exists in the surrounding environment rather than on the animal. Daily vacuuming, especially with a flea collar in the vacuum bag, is a good way to get fleas out of carpet and upholstery. Application of pesticide to the environment is sometimes necessary to completely remove fleas at all life stages.