Dogs can get fleas really easily, especially if they are not being treated for fleas currently. Fleas can be more common in some environments than in others. If you have a farm or your dog spends a lot of time outside, fleas might be a more common risk than for dogs that live indoors. Fleas can sneak up on owners when a dog is very hairy, and they might also be hard to see on certain coat colors.
Fleas on dogs might impact your household since people and other pets can get fleas as well. Your dog could end up with anemia or skin conditions due to the fleas that they have become infected with as well. Learning to spot fleas on dogs can help you to catch them early and to prevent them from coming back with ease.
How to Know if Your Dog has Fleas
You might see some early warning signs of fleas. These symptoms are scratching, fussing, and twitching of the skin. These symptoms might be backed up when you perform an inspection so this means that you need to know how to check for fleas when you see early warning signs of this problem. To perform a flea inspection, you will need to try one of these inspection methods:
1. Look for Adults
You can have your pet lay down, or have someone hold them so you can see what you are doing with ease. Use a comb or your hands to press the hair back and look at the skin. Adult fleas will look like black dots that are moving around on the skin. These dots will be clustered near the belly and the elbows in the early stages of flea infestation.
2. Look for Nits
Flea larvae or eggs are white and look like a grain of salt. These can be really easy to see when you have a dog with a dark coat. It can be harder to see them on a light coat. You might also see these little invaders in the bedding that your dog has been laying on. Flea larvae are also white in color but look like little tiny worms. You might need a veterinarian to check out your dog’s coat for nits and larvae since they are so hard to see.
3. Look for Flea Dirt
Flea dirt looks like its name. This debris is from the excrement of the fleas. This is much more visible in dogs that have larger infestations but it can be a key sign that there is something wrong even if you have not been seeing the fleas themselves. Flea dirt is fairly visible on any coat color and you will be able to see it when you examine your dog’s skin and hair.
How to Prevent Fleas from Coming Back
There are many excellent flea treatments for your needs. You will find that prevention is a better means of dealing with fleas than treating them when they show up, but once your pet has fleas, you will need to treat them to make them go away. There are some additional things to do that can also help keep fleas from infesting your house.
Wash Pet Bedding
When you know that there are fleas in the house, you will need to backup treatment with the washing of bedding and everything else that goes into the washer and dryer that your dog might have been laying on. This will take care of eggs and nits that might reinfect your dog or pass the fleas to your other pets or your family.
Treat the Fleas
You can use flea collars, a treatment that is applied to the nape of the neck, or pill-form flea treatments to get rid of the infestation that is impacting your dog. Flea collars are the least effective means of treatment and can lead to nervous system issues if the dosage of medication that the dog is getting is too high. You will want to be sure that you are following the treatment plan of the medication that you have chosen so that you do not miss doses or give your dog too much medication.
Vacuum Your Home and Furniture
Until the flea treatment has had time to kill the fleas that are infesting your dog, you will want to vacuum your house thoroughly. This can help to pick up larvae, eggs, and adults that have fallen off your dog. These fleas can infest your home and then reinfest your dog despite having applied treatment. Being sure to clean up after your dog’s fleas can make sure that your dog will not get fleas over and over.
Treat Your Yard
Sometimes your yard might be infecting your pets. You will want to mow the yard and then you will need to discard the clippings somewhere like a yard waste bin. You can then treat your yard for fleas with organic or safe products that will not make your pets sick if they eat the grass or lick it later on. Make sure that you use a pet-safe treatment so that your pets will be safe in your yard even if fleas are not.
Treating Fleas Can be Easier Than You Think
You might want to be sure that you stay on top of flea treatment and prevention if your pets seem to be prone to getting them. Fleas can cause lots of health risks and they can make your dog feel very poorly. You can also catch fleas from your pets, so you will want to be sure that you stay on top of a flea infestation so that you and your pets do not have to deal with the long-term. Fleas can be prevented with proper maintenance and you can even treat your yard for fleas with ease if you wish.
To talk with your Gray Animal Hospital veterinarian about fleas on dogs or flea prevention call (224) 304-0668 or book an appointment online!