Help control fleas year-round with preemptive action and medication alternatives

La Jolla Veterinary Hospital | Lidja Gillmeister

Proper medication and preventative care can help keep fleas at bay.

By Lidja Gillmeister, DVM

For many of us, the dawn of late summer brings to mind Labor Day barbecues, back-to-school shopping, crisper air and a sense of new beginnings; but for pet owners, this otherwise delightful season also brings with it another, not so pleasant association in the form of rampant, pesky fleas. Throughout San Diego, where warm temperatures are a year-round reality, flea season effectively never ends. The hotter it gets, however, the more troublesome fleas become; and while there are plenty of products on the market to help get rid of unwanted fleas, new oral medications and preventative measures are the best means by which to ensure that your pet stays safe, healthy and pest-free – even in the midst of a perpetual San Diego summer.

According to FOX news, the combination of warm weather and stable humidity often results in a busy season for exterminators and veterinarians alike due to prime flea breeding conditions.  And while there are many benefits to living in the temperate San Diego climate, one downside is the constant prevalence of multiplying fleas. In order to properly defend pets, homes and backyards from flea infestation, consider the following preemptive tips:

Around the house:

  • Apply sprays or foggers (ideally, products that include an IGR, or insect growth regulator) every two months to eliminate unwanted flea eggs and larvae.
  • Vacuum household surfaces (both floors and furniture) on a regular basis to eradicate flea eggs. Always discard the vacuum bag after use to avoid incubating the captured fleas.
  • Wash pet bedding in hot, soapy water at least once per week for optimal hygiene.
  • Contact your local pest control company for advice on the most effective insecticides and treatments in your area.
  • In severe cases, consider treating your yard or kennel with a recommended insecticide.

For your pet:

  • Always synchronize home treatment measures with pet care; otherwise, a single flea can still make its way into the house or onto your pet and begin the infestation process all over again.
  • Consider investing in new oral and topical systemic treatments for your pet in order to both prevent and reverse the negative health effects of flea bites and related reactions.
  • Take care to select the appropriate topical and oral products for your pet. Flea control medications are not universal, and some are not safe for animals. Common flea medication ingredients such as amitraz and permethrin are toxic to cats: before choosing a flea medication for your pet, consult an experienced and licensed San Diego veterinarian.
  • Commit to a monthly flea treatment for your pet for the safest, simplest and most effective results.

Remember: flea infestation is serious, and can result in disease transmission not only between animals, but to humans as well. By following the above-listed procedures with the advice of a trusted veterinarian, you can help keep your pets and family safe and healthy – no matter the weather.

Quality, cutting-edge care at San Diego’s premier veterinary hospital

Preventative healthcare and pet owner education are key components to a successful veterinary practice; and at the La Jolla Veterinary Hospital, we take pride in prioritizing patient information and preemptive action to keep disease and discomfort at bay. As a new addition to the medical staff at La Jolla Veterinary Hospital, I’m delighted to bring my expertise and knowledge of the latest flea medication, prevention technology and related tools to the San Diego community. I look forward to fostering responsible pet ownership and vibrant health throughout La Jolla and beyond: to learn more or set up an appointment for your pet, visit us online at

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Posted by Social Media Staff on Sep 7, 2011. Filed under Columns, Dr. Lidja Gillmeister, DVM, Sponsored Columns. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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