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Why isn't my flea control working?

I used flea medication on my dog and I still see fleas. Why isn’t it working?

This is actually a very common question, especially here in Florida where fleas are a year round issue.  If you’re seeing fleas after applying a monthly flea product, the assumption is that the product is not working. In reality, as long as the product was administered correctly, it is working just fine. The reason you are still seeing fleas is due to the “bigger picture”.

Fleas that jump on your pet start laying eggs within 24 hours. These eggs fall off into the environment, hatch into larvae, enter the cocoon like pupae stage, and then hatch out into new adults. This cycle takes between 3 to 8 weeks. When you apply a flea killing product, that product starts killing the fleas on your pet within 24 hours. Keep in mind, you still have that life cycle going on in the environment. New fleas are hatching out for the next 8 weeks, jumping on your pet, and dying within 24 hours. So it is very likely you will still see fleas until that life cycle is allowed to run it’s course.

It is important to treat all of the pets in the household, even the ones who don’t seem to have fleas. Dogs and cats share the same flea species, so even if your cat is only indoors, she can still get the fleas that are infesting the dog.

So where are these fleas coming from? Fleas do not frequently jump from one host to another, so your dog is not going to become infested from sniffing noses with the neighbor dog. The most common method is from wild animals. Opossums, raccoons, and stray cats are the biggest culprits. These animals wander into your yard dropping flea eggs as they go. The fleas hatch out, jump on your pet, and a flea infestation is born. Solving this issue can be hard, since the problem animals are out of your control. There are, however, sprays available that work well at controlling fleas in the outdoor environment. Just make sure to follow the label directions.

So you’re flea product is actually working. Just keep using it as directed, and soon your flea problem will have vanished.

Amanda Marcum CVT, BAS