Help! My Dog Has Fleas!
Discovering that the family dog has fleas often proves a nightmare for some families. If your dog has fleas, chances are there are fleas in your home that can wreak havoc on dog's health or bite family members.
Keep reading to learn how to tell if your dog has fleas, how to treat your dog for fleas, and common flea myths.
What Are Fleas Anyway?
Fleas are tiny dark-brown parasites that are so small they often go undetected for quite some time. Fleas feed on the blood of their host, in this case, your dog. Because they need blood to survive, this partially explains why people often fall victim to fleas as well.
How Do I Know If My Dog Has Fleas?
If you are not sure whether your dog has fleas, don't feel embarrassed. Fleas have a knack for hiding, both on your dog and in your home. There are several ways for you to determine whether or not your dog has fleas. For example:
Is your Dog Scratching 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. Many illnesses can also affect dogs with fleas, including allergic reactions and tapeworm.
Do You See Fleas On Your Dog?
You can often tell if your dog has fleas with the naked eye. Some dog parents see them in the dog’s fur, although they commonly live and feed on the surface of the skin. You can also see fleas on furnishings or when you or family members discover flea bites.
You can 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 critters. Concentrate the light on furry areas as well as around the tail and inner thighs.
So what is “flea dirt?” Flea dirt is the black spots that look like pepper on your dog's skin. It is actually flea feces. Perhaps you have seen evidence of flea dirt on or around your dog’s pet potty and not known that it was flea dirt. If you experience this, it's best to get a new pet potty to replace the old one and keep using the indoor pet potty so your dog doesn't have to go outside where they can be re-infected with fleas.
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, fleas may be living in your 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 them out, fleas find their next host in your Fido or Princess. A friend or neighbor that brings their pet along for a visit can also potentially transfer fleas to your property, home and pets.
A good way to defend against your dog getting fleas again after treatment is to use an indoor potty. Once you are confident that there are no more fleas in the area. You can continue normal potty breaks outside.
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.
Another popular myth is 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 long.
How To Deal With Dog Fleas
Getting rid of fleas requires vigilance. You have to treat your dog, the yard and your home.
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.