Nearly every pet owner will eventually have to deal with fleas on their dog. It can be easy to slip behind on your flea treatments or to forget to get your dog started on these medications to help prevent fleas. Even if you do not let your dog outside all day long, your pet can still get fleas. Some parts of the world have larger flea populations as well, so you might have to work harder to stay ahead of fleas, depending on where you live.
If you are not sure about how to tell if your dog has fleas or not and you are not certain about removing them once they have set up shop in your dog’s coat, you need to read on for more information. Being sure that you can get rid of fleas with ease means detecting them early before they start to make your dog feel sick. Fleas can cause a lot of secondary health risks that you will want to avoid, so knowing what to look for when you suspect your dog has fleas can make a big difference in your dog’s health.
How to Recognize Fleas on Dogs
Being able to detect fleas before they have really gotten comfortable living with your dog can be easier than you might think. You just need to know what to look for to be sure that your dog is getting the flea care that they need to remove these pesky invaders.
1. Your Dog is Scratching More Often
If your dog is scratching a lot, they might have a skin issue that is not related to fleas, but fleas should be your first thought when you see excessive scratching. Look for signs of skin irritation or redness where your dog is scratching, and you might be able to see some of the other signs of fleas. Dogs will often scratch at their bellies, necks, and hind ends when they first have fleas.
2. Look for Signs of Fleas in the Coat
Fleas are dark brown and small, but you can still see them if you look carefully. You can also look for flea dirt on your dog’s skin which will look like greasy, brown smudges against the skin. If you are struggling to see through your dog’s coat, you will want to get a flea comb or use a fine-toothed people comb to help pull back the hair one section at a time to check for fleas. Anything that seems to move or jump is likely a flea.
3. Look for Bites
Flea bites cause redness and small, red bumps on your dog’s skin. Your dog might also let you know that the skin that you are investigating is itchy or sore by reacting to your examination. While other kinds of rashes can also be red and bumpy, check out a picture online of flea irritation to dog skin. The specific pattern of flea rashes and bites is pretty distinctive.
How to Treat Fleas on Dogs
If your dog has fleas, there are some common treatment plans that you can use to take care of your dog’s flea infestation.
1. Head to the Vet for Flea Medication
Getting some flea medication from your veterinarian will kill the fleas right away and help prevent any eggs from hatching. These products are applied at the nape of the neck in most cases, but some of these products also come in pill form. You can also buy flea collars, but this is becoming a less favorable option since other flea medications are so simple to deliver these days.
2. Bathe Your Dog
You can choose to wash your dog with a flea shampoo, but really any shampoo combined with a good wash will work to kill fleas. You will want to be sure to scrub your dog’s coat thoroughly to help remove eggs and flea dirt and make sure as well to rinse off all the soap completely. You can wash your dog a few days in a row to be sure that you are getting rid of all of the fleas, eggs, and flea dirt. Combined with flea medication application, bathing can help make sure that your dog feels is flea free.
3. Keep Up on Treatment
The other key aspect of flea treatment is flea prevention. You will want to be sure that you are keeping your dog current on flea prevention to prevent having to eradicate fleas over and over again. You can easily put more flea prevention on your dog’s neck or give them a pill on a schedule and keep fleas at bay all year round. If you live in an area with a large flea population, this is essential to the treatment of fleas on your dog.
Recognizing Fleas and Killing Them Can be Very Easy
If you have been worried that you are not going to be able to tell if your dog has fleas or you are not sure how to go about treating them if your dog has them, this guide should have cleared up your questions. Your dog can remain flea free all year long if you make sure to use proper flea prevention and keep your dog current on their flea medications. Make sure as well that you check for the presence of fleas anytime that your dog has been out in the weeds or long grass. It can be a good idea to just give your dog a bath after trips into the woods or grassy areas, even if they are current on their flea prevention.
Fleas can actually make dogs quite sick, and they can cause lots of skin irritation that can be very uncomfortable for your dog. Preventing them is the best course of action, but you can easily get rid of fleas once they have infested your dog without too much trouble. Recognizing flea infestations early is key to making sure that your dog does not have to deal with these pesky invaders.
Welcome to Kryder & Harr Veterinary Clinic! Our animal hospital has been a fixture in the Granger community since 1981, practicing full-service veterinary medicine for all our pet parents and their furry family members. At KHVC, we pride ourselves on our history, of providing excellent customer service for our clients, along with dedicated, compassionate, and exceptional medical care for all of our patients.