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                                             FLEAS EVERYWHERE?

     Sometimes, even homeowners without pets have a flea problem, and at times, when you have dogs and/or cats, the infestation can turn into what seems to be an insurmountable task to deal with. If you can pinpoint the exact source, the root of the problem, it's easier to deal with. For this discussion, I'm going to go at it just like it appeared to me the last time I had to deal with it.

     I'd been concentrating on writing, working, repairs around the home and walking and training the dogs, and was guilty of a bit of neglect concerning paying attention to details like bugs, though I kept refuse picked up daily and sprayed the boys and girls whenever I noticed a flea. I finally got a book done and sent to the publisher that I was working on, and more time became available to focus on the canines necessary details.

     The two small dogs and two of the big dogs stay in the house, and I started noticing fleas at night when I stretched out on the floor to rest and sleep. My back is strong and good but I have to go to the chiropractor some to get it aligned, and I find that sleeping on a mat on the floor is good for it, and fleas are more at ground level than anywhere else.

     The plan of action depends upon what product you use for the remedy. If you use shampoo that kills fleas and ticks, and the flea eggs, then go ahead and bathe the animals first, since the ingredients will keep fleas from remaining and hatching eggs on the beasts. I picked up shampoo that kills only the fleas, but also bought spray that kills the fleas and eggs, preventing hatching for seven days, so that gave me roughly a week in which to solve the dilemma. Having ten dogs gave me a small window in which to work, but I had a few days off, which greatly helped.

     I had already treated most of the property for bugs before I started bathing the dogs, but still had the area in front of the door to treat, leaving it for last, at the same time I fogged the abode. For treating the property I've used, over the years, Spectracide, Sevin and Bug Be Gone, all seeming to work well. If you use the same brand for several years in a row, it seems that the bugs become immune to it somewhat, so I tend to vary every couple of years. You can get applicators for the granular chemical, but I just spread it by hand, using rubber gloves. I have to put a couple of the outside dogs in for the night at one point, because of limited kennel space, so some advance planning is necessary, as once you spread the pest killer and water it into the ground, animals must stay off of the area until dry.

     I bathed five dogs one day and worked on the outdoor grounds as well. I then did two dogs a day later, then one the night after. The night after that I brought two indoors, which made two spaces for the two near the front door. I brought the last one in and sprinkled the area around the front door and watered in the Bug Be Gone, then bathed Nellie, putting her in the last available space outside, until the next morning when her area would be dry once again. As soon as each dog is dry, I spray them with the flea and egg killer spray.

     The next evening I put Sport, Spock, Boots and Hammer outside around six, then set the foggers off inside, walking and training for a couple of hours, two and fifteen minutes to be exact, then opened windows and turned fans on for half an hour or so, before letting anyone back inside. I had also sprinkled flea killer carpet powder, so I vacuumed during the air out time.

     During the several days of bathing dogs, I also had house cleaning and arranging to do. I had too many things inside, so I eliminated quite a few nooks and crannies where bugs like to hide, plus vacuumed everything before using the foggers and powder. I also set one fogger off inside my car, which is a smaller space than the directions recommend, but I wanted to destroy all havens for the pests.

     Regularly brushing dogs or cats and sweeping/vacuuming the carpets aids much in keeping bugs at bay, as does daily removing excrement from the animals. If you only have one or two dogs or cats, their refuse can be flushed down the toilet. having ten, I put theirs into empty dog food bags, then into the covered trash can outside.

     If fleas are excessive on a dog, I will use Dawn (blue) dish washing liquid, which kills fleas quickly. I used to only use a very small amount of it, but I gradually increased the amount, and use it not sparingly, though it doesn't take as much of it as it does regular shampoo. I don't use Dawn as often as regular dog shampoo, but it seems to be fine to use. I don't wait as long with Dawn before rinsing as I do with regular shampoo, which calls for leaving it on for five minutes, but it kills bugs quicker than the regular stuff.

     After using Dawn, do be wary of dry skin on your animal, as it can dry things out. It wouldn't hurt to keep some skin moisturizer around and apply it after using the Dawn, per the manufacturer's instructions.

     I have also put a tablespoon or two of Dawn in a spray bottle, filled it with water, and used it for a flea spray on both the dogs and carpet, with no ill effects.

     You may have to experiment with the best brand for your situation, but above all, for foggers and carpet powder, buy something that kills not only the fleas, but the eggs also, or else you'll likely have a re-infestation after a week or so.You can also use Sevin dust for gardens on your dogs and carpet, but be careful using it. I think directions for it's use on animals are printed on the package. Be sure not to get it in the pets' eyes or ears, and if using it on the carpet or in the dog's quarters, I'd sprinkle it, wait a couple of hours, and then vacuum and/or sweep. If your dog is a licker, you may not want to use it on the dog, and I doubt it's a good idea to use it on cats, as they are big self-groomers.


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