In addition to the myriad of flea control products available for cats and dogs, there is one simple tool you may have overlooked: the flea comb. A flea comb is a safe and inexpensive tool to remove fleas on cats or dogs. A flea comb is different from a regular comb in that the teeth of the comb are very finely spaced in order to physically remove fleas, flea eggs and flea dirt from your pet’s fur. Even if you do not think your pets have fleas, brushing them periodically with a flea comb is a great way to find fleas before they become a problem.
Before you begin, prepare a bucket filled halfway with hot soapy water, which you will use to rinse the flea comb and kill any fleas that you find. Make sure the bucket is deep enough that fleas cannot jump out, and only fill the bucket halfway to the top. If your dog or cat has long fur, start by using a regular comb or brush on your pet to remove any tangles. Flea-comb your pet outside or, if you are going to comb your pet inside, place newspapers around the area to catch any fleas, flea dirt or flea eggs that may drop off your pet.
Begin at your pet’s head, combing through the fur at the top of the head, chin, behind the ears and the neck. Next, move down the back, chest, and sides and belly of your pet. Finally, focus on the legs and paws, and the tail. Work slowly and gently, and always comb in the direction of the fur growth. Frequently stop and remove the fur and debris from the teeth of the flea comb into the bucket you have prepared. Because fleas will move around on your pet, a second combing will help catch and remove any hidden fleas.
When you are done, let the soapy water stand for 10-15 minutes to ensure any live fleas have drowned. Discard the newspaper and disinfect the flea comb and bucket. Be sure to reward your dog or cat with lots of praise and treats. Since use of a flea comb is a natural way to remove fleas, you can repeat as often as necessary, as long as your dog or cat tolerates it.
A flea comb is just one of many different measures you can take to help control fleas. Remember that to eradicate a flea infestation, it is also important to treat fleas in your home and yard, too.