Pawderosa Pet Care Blog

Pet Got the Itch? California Drought Causes Surge in Fleas

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Have you noticed your pet acting a bit strangely lately? Maybe they're rubbing themselves against trees or furniture to scratch their irritating bites. Or you notice them biting at their skin, attempting to get rid of the tiny critters living in their fur. If your pet is struggling, they wouldn't be the only one. California is experiencing a major flea infestation due to the changing climate and a rise in temperatures.


Pet owners in California are scratching their heads, not only out of empathy for their furry friends, but to try to solve the flea problem riddle. Many are reporting that the trusted medications and treatments they've used for years to tackle fleas are no longer working effectively to rid their pets of the pesky critters. This is because there simply may be more fleas this year than we've ever seen before. In other words, it isn't that the medications are no longer effective, it's that there are so many bugs, that it's hard to get rid of all of them.


Why the influx of fleas?

"UC Davis entomology professor Lynn Kimsey thinks the drought is to blame: 'During the winter, normally, the ones that are on wild animals get kind of hammered by the cold, wet weather,' she said." [CBS Sacramento]


Likewise, according to Yahoo News, "normal day rain washes nearly 75% of fleas away," and since California is in the middle of a drought, this lack of rain is causing problems for our pets.


Even though it is spring, the changes in the season were not so dramatic this year. Without the typical wet and cold winter, the fleas have had the chance to triple their numbers and thrive.


What a pain!


What does this mean for you?

It means you should take action now! Not all hope is lost, especially if you're proactive. Let's cover some flea conquering strategies you can try at home.


We recommend speaking with your veterinarian about switching your flea treatment plan to something that you and Fido haven't tried before to tackle any fleas who have become resistant to long-used medications. Some of our favorite treatments are the oral pill or the flea collar. Check with your vet first, but sadly, topical treatments might not be enough this year to do the trick.


Next, do a major deep clean on your house. We're talking all blankets, linens and towels go straight to the Laundromat. Wash them on high heat to kill the fleas. Next, vacuum all the nooks and crannies, behind the couch, under the bed, and the seams where your carpet meets the walls of your house. Since heat is the most surefire way to get rid of any remaining bugs, it's absolutely worth the money to get your carpets professionally cleaned. Make sure that the carpet cleaner you hire uses steam cleaning, not just dry chemical cleaning. For any kind of critter problem, you want the hottest water you can get!


Another option is to set up a flea trap, one of several home remedies you can try. Here's how to do it:

You'll need:

-Dish washing soap

-Dinner plates or bowls

-Tea candles

-Warm water


-At night, place a plate or a bowl in each of your rooms, preferably in the middle of the room. Place it on floor.

-Now fill them with warm water. If you are using a bowl, fill it partly and if using a plate, fill it to the brim. 

-Now add dishwashing liquid to this water. Use a good amount of it, about a capful. 

-Place one tea candle in the center of each plate. If using bowl, you may not be able to place the candle inside it. You can place the candle near the bowl. Now light the candles. The fleas get attracted towards light. When they jump towards light, they will get stuck in the high viscosity of the liquid with soap. This way, fleas will get trapped and die. You may dispose of the bodies in the morning. If your house is badly infected with fleas, you may continue to do this for 3-4 nights. 

Warning: As you are using fire at night when applying this home remedy to trap fleas, you should be extra cautious. You may like to stay awake till all the candles get extinguished. Also, do not let your pets and children roam freely when you have laid a trap with soapy water and lit candles in the middle of each room.


Let us know what works best for you and your pet! And from one pet owner to another – good luck!


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