Warm weather brings joy to our pets as they frolic outside. However, it also brings increased exposure to fleas and ticks. While colder regions enjoy a reprieve from flea season, warm and humid states like Florida battle these pesky critters year-round.
If you notice your dog scratching more than usual, it may be a sign of a flea infestation. But don’t panic! Fleas are common and easily treatable. In this article, we’ll guide you on how to check your dog for fleas and how to rid your furry friend of these aggravating pests.
How to Check for Fleas on Your Dog
Catching fleas early is crucial to prevent them from multiplying. To find these critters, you need to know what to look for. The most common symptom of fleas is excessive itching accompanied by red bumps on your pet’s belly, groin, under their legs, and the base of their tail. Additionally, your pet may experience dry skin and hair loss, indicating a flea problem.
But can you see fleas on dogs? Adult fleas are small and agile, making them hard to spot, especially on dogs with dark fur or a thick coat. Instead of looking for fleas directly, search for flea dirt. Flea dirt is actually flea feces that appear as tiny dark specks on your dog’s skin. When wet, these specks turn reddish-brown, indicating the presence of fleas.
So, where do fleas hide on dogs? Fleas generally like warm crevices, such as your dog’s neck and shoulder blades, tail, and back legs. If you suspect an infestation, it’s also a good idea to wash your bedding and check your couches.
Types of Fleas on Dogs
Globally, there are over 2,000 species of fleas, with more than 300 of them found in North America. The most common fleas that affect household pets are Ctenocephalides felis, also known as the domestic cat flea.
But don’t let the name fool you! This flea doesn’t limit itself to cats; it’s also the most common flea found on dogs. Another flea to watch out for is Ctenocephalides canis, aka the common dog flea. Like its feline counterpart, the common dog flea can infest not only dogs but also cats, wild animals, and livestock.
How to Get Rid of Fleas on My Dog
If you find fleas on your dog, the first thing you should do is give them a bath. Warm water and mild soap can help remove the fleas from your pet’s skin and fur. Another effective solution is to use a flea comb, which not only traps fleas but also removes flea dirt and eggs.
Remember, flea bites on humans are not uncommon. If you are bitten by a flea, wash the bite immediately and try using over-the-counter anti-itch cream and antihistamines.
How to Prevent Fleas on Dogs
The best way to deal with fleas is to prevent them from bothering your pet in the first place. Consult with your vet about year-round flea control products. One of the most popular options is a flea collar.
Do flea collars work on dogs? Absolutely! Flea collars are not only effective at fighting fleas, but they also provide a cost-effective solution. For those who tend to forget monthly treatments, flea collars are a great alternative. Just slip the collar on your pup, and they’ll be protected for up to six months without the need for monthly applications.
If you do find a flea, don’t worry. While they may be frustrating, they are easily treatable. If fleas are becoming a recurring issue in your household, it’s a good idea to contact your vet for advice on preventative treatment options. If you’re facing this situation now, reach out to us at Katten TrimSalon today! We can discuss the best ways to get rid of fleas for good.