Common Signs Your Dog May Have Fleas
Us humans have a strange habit of sometimes ignoring what we do not wish to see, which could cause us to miss the initial signs of our dogs have gotten fleas. Fleas are unpleasant, unhygienic, difficult to get rid of and feared by most dog owners, even though they aren’t necessarily dangerous in any way. The truth is, nobody wants their furry best friend full of bugs, and since fleas tend to spread from one dog and to another, as well as to the various parts of the home – a flea infestation can quickly turn into a nightmare. Avoid the flea fiasco with a reliable flea collar, carpet flea powder, and make sure you are washing your dog with an anti-flea shampoo.
Perhaps this is why we tend to ignore the first few signs of these itchy bloodsuckers? If we haven’t yet noticed it, we won’t have to worry about what to do about it, do we? This is obviously an error, since the sooner we deal with the issue – the easier it will be to get rid of. It is good to have a small idea of what to look for when it comes to fleas, and how you can spot signs of them having set camp on your dog.
Why Fleas Present a Real Issue
Fleas are not just icky and gross but can also cause harm to your pet. Female fleas can lay as many as 50 eggs per day, which partially explains how come they seem to multiply and spread so incredibly fast. They are also great jumpers and can jump over 150 times the length of their own body! This makes them experts in finding an available pet to feed off of, and even if they don’t – they can live for one to two weeks without a host to feed on. This means that there is no point in leaving the house for a few days and hope that the fleas will go away, because no, they will literally be there waiting, and they will be hungry when you get back.
No pet is truly safe from flees, and this includes indoor cats and dogs that might rarely go outside. Some areas are more flea infested and they can easily come in at the bottom of someone’s shoe or on a shopping bag, and before you know it you can have an infestation on your hands – without knowing how it happened! Due to this, it is extremely important to take precaution even for pets that are considered at a low risk of getting fleas because as many people will tell you – anything can happen.
Flea bites itch, but pets can actually develop a flea allergy, which will further intensify the itchiness from the bites, making it impossible to ignore both for the dog and for the humans living there. This type of extreme itchiness almost always results in intense scratching, something that can cause rashes and even open soars on the dog’s body, which might need veterinary care if they should get infected. Bad flea infestations can also cause lethargy due to blood loss, and since they carry parasites the dog might end up with worms too – as if having fleas wasn’t bad enough.
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Signs to look for
The most obvious sign of fleas is your dog itching and scratching more than usual, and this is something most dog owners know to look for. Once your fur baby starts scratching with more intensity and frequency than what he or she normally does – it is time to take a closer look. It is, however, not the only sign there is of fleas, so here is a list of a few more to keep an eye out for:
+ Flea droppings and eggs in the coat. This might sound strange, but fleas poop too, and if looking closely at a dog’s skin and in their coat – small black dots might be visible. The same goes for flea eggs, which you can often also find in the dog’s coat or in their bedding. It might be hard for the untrained eye to tell the difference, but if you start noticing small dots either on the dog or where the dog has been resting – then it is time to inspect things a little closer.
+ Scabs, rashes and dermatitis. Signs of skin irritation that haven’t been there before should always be taken seriously, as they usually have a source. It could be from the scratching and licking which a flea itch could provoke, or it could be the flea itself causing irritation as it sucks blood from your poor little pooch. It could also have a completely different cause and reason, but for those looking for signs of fleas; this is a common one.
+ Sudden hair loss. Another potential consequence of itching is hair loss and bald spots that seem to suddenly appear. If an itch is persistent enough the dog will do whatever he or she can do relieve it, which will eventually tear away any hair growing in that particular spot.
+ Pale gums. If your dog’s gums seem paler than normal, this is usually a sign of something not being quite right. Not everyone knows that it can also be a sign of fleas having inhabited your dog’s body, but it is, and if this is something you notice one day you will want to look for some of the other flea signs listed here, or if you are unsure – take the dog to the vet.
+ Worms. This is an unpleasant side effect, but since fleas carry bacteria and parasites, a flea infested dog can end up with tapeworm as a direct result.
So yes, there are many signs to look out for that could indicate that your dog has gotten fleas, and it is always good to be vigilant no matter how small you think the risk is of it happening. The sooner you discover the problem, the easier will it be to stop and treat, and knowing what to look for, gives you the upper hand in a war many dog owners find themselves fighting when it comes to keeping their pups free from bloodsucking fleas.