Flea Emergency!

6 good reasons to treat those fleas

  1. Fleas are a source of tapeworm. If an infected flea is swallowed by your pet then it can transmit the taperworm to your cat or dog. You’ll see the tapeworm segments around your pet’s rectum and wriggling in their stool… how gross is that!
  2. Heavy flea burdens can actually make your pet dog or cat anaemic to the point where they might actually need a blood tranfusion or even die.
  3. Fleas cause flea allergy dermatitis. When your dog or cat has an exaggerated reaction to the littlest flea bite and and it causes some seriously severe itchyness. Characteristic signs are hairloss, scabs & redness over the rump and back.
  4. Just because your pet is 100% indoors won’t protect them from fleas. Fleas can hitch a ride on your shoes and clothing, and are spread to your garden and dog parks by wildlife (like bandicoots and possums).
  5. They lie in wait if the conditions aren’t right. If the temperature and humidity aren’t ideal, fleas and their immature eggs and larvae can remain dormant for many months, until the conditions warm up again, then out they come…again…
  6. Fleas don’t discriminate- they’ll suck on your blood too!

If your home is infested with fleas, take these steps to get them under control.

It is important to remember that less than 10% of the fleas are adults ON your pet; that means that 90% of the rest of the fleas are eggs and larvae in the environment- that you can’t even see! The best way of controlling flea infestations is to have a long-lasting flea control (lasting a minimum of 30 days) on your pet all year round , in combination with environmental control.

On your pet

Use a long-acting spot-on or systemic oral flea preventative, which you can purchase from veterinarians. Be aware that you CANNOT use all the same dog flea preventatives on cats, because some products can cause cats to have life-threatening seizures. Always use the correct weight size that matches your pet.

Remember to treat all pets in the house at the same time each month.

Long term flea preventatives that are safe for cats include:

  • Revolution (spot-on) monthly, or fortnightly to treat FAD
  • Advocate (spot-on) monthly, or fortnightly to treat FAD
  • Advantage (spot-on) monthly, or fortnightly to treat FAD
  • Frontline Plus for cats (spot-on) monthly
  • Comfortis (tablet)-monthly (can cause vomiting in up to 10% of cats); giving 1/2 the dose on one day and the second 1/2 the next day can stop them vomiting. Give fortnightly for first 3 doses then back to monthly to treat FAD.
  • Panoramis (tablet)-monthly (can cause vomiting in up to 10% of cats); giving 1/2 the dose on one day and the second 1/2 the next day can stop them vomiting.

Long term flea preventatives for dogs include:

  • Bravecto (tablet) every three months- also covers for ticks
  • Nexgard (tablet) monthly – also covers for ticks
  • Revolution (spot-on) monthly, or fortnightly to treat FAD
  • Advocate (spot-on) monthly, or fortnightly to treat FAD
  • Advantage (spot-on) monthly, or fortnightly to treat FAD
  • Advantix (spot-on) monthly for fleas, fortnightly for ticks and FAD- DO NOT USE THIS PRODUCT ON CATS
  • Frontline Plus for dogs (spot-on) monthly, or fortnightly to treat FAD

Short term flea killers for dogs and cats (last for 24 hours only)

  • Capstar- use for daily for the first week of getting on top of an infestation in conjunction with one of the longer acting products listed above
  • Frontline or Frontera (fipronil) spray

Flea washes and other short term flea killers are not recommended for long term use, they may kill the immediate fleas on your pet but they will not break the flea cycle or remove your flea infestation. Your pet will be immediately reinfested from the environment unless you start long term prevention plus envinromental control.

NOTE: If your pet has or is suspected to have Flea Allergy Dermatitis then your vet may recommend a more intensive dosing schedule ( at least initially) but this depends on the flea product being used and your pet.

Inside the home

  • Locate heavily infested ares and concentrate efforts on these areas.
  • Wash all throw rugs and the pet’s bedding on a hot cycle.
  • Vacuum all upholstered furniture. Remove and vacuum beneath cushions and in cracks and crevices.
  • Vacuum carpets, especially beneath furniture and in areas that your pet likes to lie down.
  • Use a hand sparayer or flea bomb to treat all carpets with an insecticicde that contains an insect growth regulator(IGR) *See below for important information on insecticides!
  • Allow carpets to dry, then vacuum them a second time to remove additioal fleas the IGR spray has caused to emerge.
  • Continue to vacuum for 10 to 14 days to kill adult fleas as they continue to emerge from their pupal cocoons.

*Please check that the pesticide spray is SAFE FOR USE AROUND PETS. The majority of insecticide sprays (anything with pyrethrins or pyrethroids) are DEADLY TOXINS to cats. It is recommended that if you are spraying your house or using flea bombs, that all animals be relocated for 24hours after the bomb (this includes covering aquariums and removing pet birds too). The entire house should be vacuumed to remove any pesticide residue before returning the pets to the household.

Outside the home

  • If you treat your pets with spot-on or oral treatments, you‘ll rarely need to spray outdoors.

Environmental Treatments: Detailed Information


Controlling fleas in buildings requires a variety of approaches. Before starting a control program, look through each room to determine areas where larval development occurs. Flea populations are highest in places where dogs or cats regularly sleep. You usually won’t find flea larvae in areas of heavy pedestrian traffic or locations that receive exposure to sunlight; they are likely to be present in areas where adult fleas have left dried blood and feces.

Sanitation: Thoroughly and regularly clean areas where you find adult fleas, flea larvae, and flea eggs. Vacuum floors, rugs, carpets, upholstered furniture, and crevices around baseboards and cabinets daily or every other day to remove flea eggs, larvae, and adults. Vacuuming is very effective in killing larvae in the carpet, picking up adults, and stimulating preemerged adults to leave their cocoons. Recent studies suggest that destroying the vacuum bags isn’t necessary. Launder pet bedding in hot, soapy water at least once a week. Thoroughly clean items you bring into the building, such as used carpets or upholstered furniture, to prevent these from being a source of flea infestation.

Insecticides: Several insecticides are registered for controlling fleas indoors. The most effective products also contain the IGR methoprene or pyriproxyfen. Use a hand sprayer or aerosol to apply insecticides directly to infested areas of carpets and furniture. Total release aerosols, or room foggers, don’t provide the coverage and long-term effectiveness of direct sprays unless they contain methoprene or pyriproxyfen. Treatments with insecticides other than IGRs often fail to control flea larvae, because the treatment material fails to contact them at the base of carpet fibers where they develop.

Spray carpets, pet sleeping areas, carpeted areas beneath furniture, baseboards, windowsills, and other areas harboring adults or larvae. Fleas will continue to emerge for about 2 weeks after treatment, because the spray doesn’t kill pupae. Continue to vacuum, and don’t treat again for at least several weeks.


In Queensland, outdoor flea populations are most prevalent in coastal localities and other places with moderate daytime temperatures and fairly high humidity levels. In Central Valley locations, populations can become very numerous in shaded and protected areas such as sheltered animal enclosures, crawl spaces under buildings where feral animals might sleep, and vegetated areas adjacent to buildings. Infested outdoor locations left untreated can lead to fleas reinfesting your pets. However, treating the pet with any of the preferred pet treatment products listed above normally will prevent reinfestation.

Outdoor sprays aren’t necessary unless you detect significant numbers of adult fleas. One way to do this is to walk around pet resting areas wearing white socks pulled up to the knee. If fleas are present, they will jump onto socks and be readily visible.
Products for eliminating adult fleas outdoors are somewhat limited because many field populations of cat fleas are resistant to pyrethroids such as permethrin. Apply sprays directly in locations where pets rest and sleep such as doghouse and kennel areas, beneath decks, and next to the foundation. It is seldom necessary to treat the entire yard or lawn areas. Flea larvae are unlikely to survive in areas with exposure to sunlight or substantial foot traffic.