4 Signs Your Dog Has Fleas

Fleas are never fun and can be very uncomfortable for your pet. Once they make a home on your pet, they are quick to cause irritation. If a flea lands on your pet’s skin, it can begin laying eggs right away, and not just a few. On average a female flea will lay almost 50 eggs per day! If you believe that your pet has contracted fleas, it is best to take care of the situation quickly. We recommend a quality flea and tick spot treatment that not only effectively kills but prevents fleas from coming back. If you have never dealt with a flea problem, understanding what to look for can be a challenge. To better help your pet get the care and treatment it needs, here are some signs your pet might have a flea problem.

shepherd mix dog scratching himself

Fleas Visible on Dog’s Coat and Skin

Seeing fleas on your dog’s coat and skin can be concerning and is an obvious sign that fleas are present. These pests are small, dark and brown. Fleas tend to rest on the warmer parts of the dog. Start by checking his armpits, groin, and ears. If your furry friend skin also has red bumps or redness on the surface of the skin, this may be another sign that fleas are present. If you can physically see the fleas on your dog’s coat, it is time to take action.

Excessive Scratching or Chewing

If fleas are an issue, dogs will experience excessive itching and chewing of the skin. When dog fleas bite, it secretes saliva that causes an itching sensation on the skin mainly affecting the thighs, tail base, belly, upper arms, armpits, and side. Some dogs are more hypersensitive to the flea saliva than others causing horrible reactions. The severity of the itch is dependent upon each dog, but can usually lead to many problems including flea allergy dermatitis or secondary bacterial skin infections.

itchy dog biting fleas on skin

Flea Dirt on Fur

Flea dirt is much more than what it sounds like. While it may sound like it is just dirt, that isn’t exactly the case. Flea “dirt” is flea waste and blood from biting and sucking it out of the exposed pet. If you start seeing peppered looking spots on your pet, this could very well be flea dirt that is a very clear sign your dog has fleas.
If you are unsure whether the black spots are flea dirt or actually dirt, then the best way to determine this is to grab a wet paper towel and grab the small clumps. If it is flea dirt, it will turn a dark reddish color once it is wet.

Noticeable Skin Problems

Hair loss, rashes, and hot spots are also very common if fleas are contracted. The effect the flea saliva has on a dog depends on how the dog can tolerate it. The flea saliva can induce a very serious allergic reaction for the dog, causing hot spots or rashes. Due to the excessive amount of scratching and itching hair loss in chunks is also common especially with breeds with longer coats.

Knowing the next steps to control a flea outbreak can be hard, especially if this is your first experience. It is best to use a monthly flea treatment to help control fleas. A flea treatment will not only kill fleas but prevent them from harming your pet in the future. Be sure also to clean the surrounding areas including the home, dog bed and linens, and outside areas as needed. The best method of flea management is to prevent an infestation before it even begins.

puppy scratching himself

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