Discovering that the family dog has fleas often proves a nightmare for some families. If there are fleas on your dog, chances are there are fleas in your home that wreak havoc when they pose serious threats to your dog’s health or bite family members.
Learn how to tell if your dog has fleas, how to treat your dog for fleas, myths and health risks associated with dogs that have fleas.
What Are Fleas Anyway?
Fleas are tiny dark-brown parasites that are so small they often go undetected for quite some time. “Pet Health & Care” explains that fleas feed on the blood of their host, in this case, your dog. Because they need blood to live, this partially explains why people often become victim to fleas as well.
Fleas feeding on the blood of their host often results in the itchy, inflamed bites that often cause irritation and illness to pets and humans.
How Do I Know If My Dog Has Fleas?
If you are not sure whether your dog has fleas, do not feel embarrassed. Fleas have a knack for hiding, both on your dog and in your home, once your dog or a family member brings them inside.
There are several ways for you to determine whether your dog has fleas:
Does Your Dog Scratch More Than Usual?
When a dog has fleas, scratching often becomes severe. The scratching has the potential to lead to hair loss, infections and inflammation.
The Daily Puppy reveals that many illnesses affect dogs with fleas, including allergic reactions, tapeworm and Haemobartonellosis, a serious complication.
Do You See Fleas Around Areas Your Dog’s Usual Areas?
If you leave these items lying around inside the house for any length of time, not only do they start to smell, they provide the perfect material for fleas to jump off your dog and start living in your carpeting, bedding and furniture.
Are Other Pets Affected?
If your dog has fleas, other household pets likely have them. In fact, if your dog primarily lives indoors but you have a cat that comes and goes, the pet that comes and goes possibly transferred fleas to your dog. Animal-to-animal contact is a common transmission route for fleas.
Do You See Fleas On Your Dog?
You can potentially tell if your dog has fleas. Some dog parents see them in the dog’s fur, although they commonly live and feed on the surface of the skin. Remember, you can also see fleas on furnishings or when you or family members discover flea bites.
“PetMD” recommends that you take a flashlight and look for fleas or “Flea dirt” on your dog. This is because fleas do not like light. Shining the flashlight directly on your dog’s body has the potential to uncover the parasitic critters. Concentrate the light on furry areas as well as around the tail and inner thighs.
So what is “Flea dirt?” This is the black spots that look like pepper on your dog. It is actually flea feces. Perhaps you have seen evidence of flea dirt on or around your dog’s pet potty or fake grass and not known that it was flea dirt.
Outdoor Flea Transmission
Do not assume that your yard is flea-free and therefore your dog cannot get fleas while outdoors.
If a neighbor’s pets have fleas, chances are that fleas live in the yard, looking for their next host. Someone walking their dog that stops to rest or “Go” on or near your property has the potential to transfer fleas into your yard. Then when you are working on housebreaking your dog and take it out, fleas find their next host in your Fido or Princess. A friend or neighbor that brings their pet along for a visit potentially transfers fleas to your property, home and pets.
Fleas do not fly from one dog or other pet to another host. They jump and crawl on the host or outdoor areas. This is one reason that you or other family members share the possibility of potentially bringing fleas indoors, which then find your indoor pet. People that unknowingly end up with fleas on their shoes or clothing bring them inside and the nightmarish flea infestation begins.
Another popular myth concerns the untrue belief that there is a “Flea season.” Although fleas prefer warm weather, there is no such thing as flea season. Fleas have the capability to live all year, both on the dog and in your home.
Cincinnati Ohio’s NearSay points out that “Even in the winter…your pet is still at risk of attracting fleas and ticks,” and that “There’s never a season when your dog or cat is completely safe from fleas.”
How To Deal With Dog Fleas
Getting rid of fleas requires vigilance. You have to treat your dog, the yard and your home and facilitate ongoing flea protection.
Remove the dog from any area potentially infested by fleas. Treat the inside and outside of your home with a product specifically made to kill fleas or call a professional exterminator.
There are several products for treating dogs with fleas available at pet stores. Ask for help to determine the best one for your dog. Consider taking your dog to the veterinarian for treatment.
Consider Bark Potty for your dog, which provides natural, safe, effective means for your dog to go potty, potentially minimizing risk of getting fleas or bringing them indoors.