A Guide to Dog Fleas

dog fleasYou love your dog like a baby and want to keep him as healthy as possible, but little pests like fleas make that job a bit more difficult. Fleas are incredibly common, so it’s important to learn the signs and recognize when your dog needs some extra attention to recover from an infestation.

An Introduction to Fleas

Unfortunately, fleas are incredibly determined little pests that virtually don’t give up when in search of a host. They love warm, humid environments the most, and with over 2,000 species and subspecies of fleas in existence, they aren’t exactly hard to find. The fleas that most commonly infest dogs are only one to three millimeters in length and black or dark brown in color.

Sign #1: Black Specks

Known as “flea dirt”, these black specks will be present in your dog’s bed and fur. Flea dirt is actually the fecal matter of adult fleas, so it’s a definitive way to identify the presence of fleas. If you suspect fleas but have dark colored dog, run a flea comb over your dog and check for flea dirt on the comb. You could also run a white paper towel across your pet’s belly to look for signs. If you find black specks, drown them in soapy water before they can get away again.

Sign #2: Excessive Itching

The more your dog itches and scratches, the more likely it is that fleas are the problem. You may also notice your dog becoming more irritated and nervous as time goes on.

Handle Fleas Effectively

Fleas are definitely not something to ignore and hope they disappear. You need to take definitive action to guarantee that your pet- and the rest of your house!-is finally flea-free. First, give your dog a flea bath using flea shampoo. After the bath, diligently use a flea comb to remove any fleas on the skin and kill them immediately with soapy water. Your dog then needs to be quarantined away from other pets.

When your dog has fleas, your home has fleas too, so once your pet is treated it is time to handle your house. Wash all of your bedding and anything your dog likes to lounge on, including carpets and couches. Don’t forget about your dog’s bed, which is probably harboring thousands of flea eggs. Yuck! Then vacuum excessively and use an insect growth regulator spray to keep any fleas from returning.  You should finally be flea-free!