We all hate them – especially our dogs. But with a hot, humid summer comes fleas – in fact, they thrive in summer conditions, laying in wait for your innocent dog to wander into their path so they can invade.

If you have ever owned a dog, chances are you’ve run into fleas before. Maybe it was just a few that you could easily get rid of, but maybe it was much more involved than that. When left unchecked, fleas can populate at an astonishing rate, wreaking havoc on your dog and even embedding themselves in furniture and carpeting.

Once you know you have a flea problem, it can be overwhelming to figure out how to start the process of eradicating them. Below are steps you can take to help control and eliminate any fleas that have moved in, courtesy of your four-legged friend.

1.       Flea baths
The flea bath is a tried-and-true method for a reason – it works. Now, it’s not exactly a catch-all because this does not address any fleas living within the fabric of your home, but it’s the best place to start. After all, your dog is likely the source of the infestation.

Use a vet-recommended flea shampoo and be sure to read and follow the directions carefully. Some flea shampoos require time to sit on the skin of the dog before rinsing, and others are so powerful that it’s recommended you wear gloves. Be thorough in bathing your dog and be sure to repeat the process 7-10 days after the initial bath for good measure.

2.       Topical treatment
After a flea bath, follow up with a topical flea treatment (always reference your vet if you’re unsure what type or brand to use). Most topical treatments require your dog to not be bathed for at least 4 days after, which is why baths are recommended prior to additional treatment. These topical serums absorb into your dog’s skin and affect actively biting fleas and prevent larvae from maturing.

In addition, use topical sprays on fabrics and furniture within your home. Use caution as some contain ingredients that require no animals in the room for a specific amount of time, or could possibly be toxic to cats.

3.       Vacuuming
Daily vacuuming will become your most important chore. Because fleas can burrow into carpets and furniture, it’s imperative to reach any eggs they lay there through vacuuming. Consistent vacuuming every day is known to dislodge flea eggs and help prevent future outbreaks.

A little-known fact, flea eggs can lay dormant for months and then be activated through movement and vibration in their environment. Be sure to reach every nook you can and vacuum under furniture and rugs as well.

4.       Wash all linen and bedding
Many topical treatments and vacuuming are ineffective on things like bedding, blankets, etc. So take any blankets and bedding your dogs frequently use and give them a good wash in hot water. It’s also recommended to clean your own bedding for extra protection, especially if your dog shared a sleep space.

5.       Flea bombs
As a last resort, consider purchasing and using flea bombs. You will need to evacuate your home for several hours – including all pets, as the bomb disperses pesticide throughout the room(s) in which they are placed.

These tools are effective in eliminating fleas and controlling reinfestation for several months.