Finding out that your dog or cat has fleas can be stressful. Fleas are difficult to see due to their size, and they can jump as far as a foot, making it easy for them to spread to furniture, other animals, and people.

Luckily, fleas are an extremely common household pest that can be dealt with relatively easily if you follow the right steps.

Ways to Treat a Flea Infestation

Taking your pet to the vet is always a good idea if you’re unsure whether your pet’s symptoms are related to fleas or a different health issue. Once you’ve confirmed that your dog or cat is dealing with a flea infestation, there are a few courses of action you can take right away.

Use a Fine-Toothed Comb to Brush Your Pet

Most pet stores sell combs with extremely fine teeth. These combs are designed to remove fleas, flea eggs, and flea excrement from your pet’s fur and skin. Have a bowl of hot, soapy water at the ready to dip the comb into once you’ve caught some fleas — this will kill them instantly..

Bathe Your Pet with Gentle Shampoo or Soap

If you haven’t bathed your pet in a while, a soothing bath with some gentle foaming dog or cat shampoo or mild soap could get rid of a good deal of the fleas and flea eggs in their fur. Any shampoos specifically designed to kill fleas should only be used with your vet’s approval.

Use Apple Cider Vinegar-Based Solution

If you’re looking for an all-natural treatment for your pet’s fleas, try mixing some apple cider vinegar and water into a spray bottle, and apply it to your pet’s fur intermittently. The mixture won’t kill the fleas — but it will repel them, as they hate this type of vinegar’s taste and smell.

Check Your Pet Regularly

Once you’ve removed as many fleas as possible with the previous steps, it’s important to regularly check your pet’s fur for any recurrence of flea infestation. You can do this by pulling your fine-toothed comb back out at least once a week for a quick brush.

Allow Some Self-Grooming

If your pet has fleas and is self-grooming more than usual, don’t stop them. These habits can actually help to get rid of the fleas in addition to your efforts. Just make sure they aren’t creating hot spots or otherwise injuring themselves by overgrooming.