Vet Blog

4 Signs Your Dog Has Fleas

December 20, 2017

No one wants fleas, especially your dog.

They can cause excessive scratching, skin problems, and lead to infestations in your home. Here are four signs that your dog has fleas:

1. Visible Fleas on Your Dog'S Coat or Skin

Do you see obvious signs that your dog has fleas? Fleas are small brown and typically dark in color. They like to live in warm places, like armpits, the groin area, or near ears. Small red bumps on your dog's skin may indicate flea bites. If you see live fleas you will want to call your veterinarian and let them know what is going on in order to best deal with the problem.

2. Excessive Scratching or Chewing

Dogs with fleas typically scratch at their skin and may even chew at it to try to alleviate the itchiness associated with fleas. When fleas bit their host they secrete saliva that causes the itchy feeling that our pets feel. If your dog is very sensitive to saliva they may have a flea allergy which will further inflame their skin. This can lead to skin infections and should be evaluated by your veterinarian.

3. Flea Dirt on Fur

Sometimes you will notice flea dirt and not the actual flea. Flea dirt can look like black pepper and it is left behind after fleas bite. If you check your pet for fleas using a flea comb you may pick up flea dirt. If you find flea dirt be sure to treat your dog for the fleas that left it behind. Consult with your veterinarian for the best way to do this.

4. Skin Problems

Fleas can cause many skin problems ranging from infections to hot spots. The excessive itching can cause dogs to chew at their skin and often cause bald spots. If you notice red spots, hair loss, or a potential infection remember that it could be caused by fleas.

The use of a monthly flea preventative, such as NexGard, is a crucial part of your pet's health. It will not only protect your pet but prevent fleas from living in your environment. Please ask us about additional ways to prevent fleas.

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