Dog fleas are parasitic creatures that flourish in warm humid environments, such as your pet’s coat. Fleas can cause terrible infestations due to their fast reproduction rates, therefore it’s necessary to make sure the problem is dealt with before it gets out of hand!
In order to keep your pet safe from falling victim to dog fleas, it’s important to know the symptoms, causes and treatments.
Why Do Dogs Get Fleas and Why Are They Dangerous?
With their 2,000 species and subspecies, these parasites are extremely common in the outdoors and can easily be transmitted to pets. The insect jumps from one host’s body to another, and often chooses the fluffy coats of dogs and cats to burrow in.
Fleas are dangerous due to their short life cycles, where a female flea will lay hundreds of eggs in the period of a few days. Flea eggs don’t only stick to your dog’s coat and skin, but can also fall off onto furniture, clothes and carpets. Moreover, this parasite can consume up to fifteen times it’s own body weight in blood, meaning it will be causing a significant amount of blood loss for your canine over a short period of time. Fleas can therefore cause serious damage to animals’ immune system and overall health by causing anemia, or transmitting other diseases such as tapeworm.
Symptoms of Dog Fleas
Suspect that your dog might have fleas? These are some of the tell-tale signs to look out for:
- Excessive itching or biting
- Pale gums
- Visible dark spots in your dog’s coat
- Scabs and irritation from bites
- Redness or blood
- Irritable behavior – being ‘jumpy’
There are some areas of your dog’s body that can be more susceptible to holding fleas that others due to moisture, sweat or thicker fur. These hotspot areas include:
- Behind and around the ears
Make sure to routinely check your dog for fleas, whether by hand or by using a flea-comb which can help easily parting your dog’s fur and exposing any fleas or eggs present.
If you discover or suspect that your dog may be carrying fleas, consulting a veterinary would be the preferred first step to take. A vet can help you discover the seriousness of the infestation, and will recommend the appropriate care and treatment for your dog’s individual case.
Flea treatments are plenty and come in variations, therefore it’s important to know which treatments are most suitable for your dog.
Spot Flea Treatments
Spot treatments are one of the more common choices for treating dog fleas, and consist of liquid products that are put onto the back of your dog’s neck. Some products kill fleas, other interrupt their development and deter them, and some do both.
Flea medication in the form of injections or tablets are an easier alternative if using spot treatments causes a hassle for you and your dog.
These collars will stop the development and growth of fleas on your dog’s body, but may not be as effective as other direct treatments.
Things to Remember
Remember that fleas may not only live on your pet’s coat, but are likely to also be present around the house. Vacuuming, washing and cleaning your house after removing the fleas from your pet’s body is essential to make sure no hatching eggs are present!