One of the biggest concerns that dog owners have is if their canine companion could ever get fleas. As parasites, fleas essentially live on other creatures such as our dogs, feeding off them and causing a plethora of issues. This is especially concerning during warmer months, but they can also appear during colder seasons because they’re seeking warmth and safety on warm bodies such as your dog’s.
If your dog has a lot of hair then it’s a prime location for fleas to call their home and you should be on the lookout for the signs.
What happens if my dog has fleas?
The very first thing you’ll notice is that your dog will scratch themselves a lot. Although there are many different reasons why this might happen, one of the more common reasons is because they have fleas. In some cases, you might even physically see the fleas running around your dog’s coat or even jumping onto carpets. While fleas are small, they are visible to the human eye and you’ll definitely be able to see movement on your dog.
Fleas don’t just affect your dog. Since they can spread between hosts, fleas may end up on your child, you, or even other pets that your dog plays with. Fleas can also cause different kinds of damage including hair loss in your dog and irritated red skin. This can be extremely uncomfortable for your dog and it will make you concerned about the fleas spreading to other people and animals. Fleas can even cause skin allergies and may transmit other parasites to your dog such as tapeworms.
Checking your dog for fleas
As mentioned, the two main signs of fleas are scratching and visibly seeing the fleas. However, even if your dog has fleas, there are situations where they might not be visible due to how much hair your dog has. As such, one of the best ways to check for fleas is to look for their faeces. If you comb a section of hair on your dog, you might see small black flecks that look like dirt or tried mud. However, this could actually be flea faeces, especially if your dog hasn’t been outside and isn’t prone to rolling around in grass.
If you’re concerned it might be flea faeces, then you can comb the dirt onto a piece of white paper and leave them for a short time. If the dirt turns a red colour after some time, then it’s a clear indication that they are flea faeces and not just dirt. This is because fleas suck blood from your dog to sustain themselves, and some of this blood is passed into their faeces. This colours it red after a while and is a clear indication that your dog has fleas. However, if the black spots stay black, then it’s likely that they are just regular specks of dust or dirt. Regardless, if the black spots are very common whenever you brush your dog or comb their hair, you should be on the lookout for fleas or other conditions.
Is it possible to prevent fleas?
Yes! While it might not be possible to completely avoid fleas entirely, there are many solutions such as a natural flea repellent for dogs or taking the right measures to clean your dog so that there’s less chance for fleas to develop and reproduce on your dog. In order to control fleas indoors, you’ll need to be vigilant about getting them out of your home. You should constantly check areas where fleas may be hiding and you need to frequently wash your dog’s bedding so that there’s less chance for the fleas to remain.
Fleas can also be found outdoors. If you find that your dog likes to spend time in certain areas of your garden or outdoors, then you should check these spots for fleas or the faeces that we mentioned earlier. Anywhere your dog likes to spend time and relax or sleep is a location where fleas can appear. If you do find fleas in these areas, then you can treat these locations with repellents or insecticides, but do be careful when your dog returns to these areas to rest or play as it could be harmful to your dog.
Getting rid of fleas is important, especially if your kids love playing with your dog and you want the best for your canine friend. Look out for some of these signs and be vigilant about getting rid of any fleas that you see.
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