We have three pets, two indoor cats, and a dog. About 3-4 weeks ago we found fleas dirt on our dog while brushing him. We then checked out the cats and one other had flea dirt. That same day we applied flea treatments to all 3 of them and vacuumed the whole house and sprayed every surface with a household flea treatment (aerosol). Since then, the dog went to the vet and got prescription treatments (which have been applied as per the vet’s instruction), and we have bathed the dog and cats once per week. Every day I run through their fur with a flea comb and put what fleas I grab in a water bath with dish soap to drown them.
I should also mention we have isolated the pets to the tiled part of our home (away from beds and sofas). We vacuum twice a day in this area and once a day in the rest of the house that they don’t have access to currently.
I thought I was getting somewhere, I was getting max one flea out of the cats each day for two days and none of them were scratching much. Then today I ran the flea comb through one of my cats and caught 7 adult fleas! I haven’t caught any in my other cat but I see new litter that suggested they are on her again.
I don’t know what else to do! Please help!
Flea infestations usually take around 8 weeks to resolve after treatment begins. It’s normal to see fleas until then. 95-99% of infestation are eggs, larvae, and pupae in the environment. Fleas can be found on treated pets, because new adults are emerging from the environment and seeking a host. You are likely seeing the new fleas before they fully succumb to the insecticide, but they should die within a few hours.
With your pets and the environment properly treated, the fleas shouldn’t be able to lay eggs. So you are likely dealing with the last generation. You just need to wait for the immature stages to mature, emerge, and die. Unfortunately there is little you can do eliminate all of these stages early, because they are hidden deep within carpets and other refuges where insecticides can’t penetrate well.
The problem stage is cocooned adults. After pupating, fleas can stay quiescent inside their cocoons for up to 5 months until they detect a host (heat and pressure). Vacuuming is a good way to simulate these cues and force emergence. Also, it may be a good idea to allow your treated animals to have access to the whole home. Then they will go back to their favorite resting spots, which will also be flea hot-spots. The fleas will emerge from cocoons, jump on the pets, and then die when exposed to the insecticide.
You may want to consider dialing back the shampooing to once a month. Too much water submersion may reduce the efficacy of pet treatments, even though many are labeled as water-proof.
In summary, it sounds like you are on the right path. It will just take a bit more time. If you want to monitor the flea population in your home, flea traps can be usual. They can help give an idea of how quickly the infestation is ending.
I hope this helps!