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How To Tell If Your Dog Has Fleas?

Dogs are naturally outdoor animals. There is therefore an inherent risk that they will pick up pests like fleas, ticks, and others. Fleas in particular are a big nuisance. First of all, these pesky little bugs will make your pooch so uncomfortable. Secondly, fleas will spread like wildfire if not treated. Imagine this, a mature female flea lays up to 4000 eggs in one single breeding cycle. That is a full-blown pest infestation. 

Detecting flea infestations in dogs is often a two-step process. First, you must pay attention to your pooch and see if they are scratching and itching more than usual. The second step is a full close inspection. Normally, when inspecting your pooch for fleas, focus on the skin and the fur. Check the ears too for any signs of flea, flea dirt, and flea eggs.

In case you need more info on how to control flea infestations in the future, we got your back. In this post, we will highlight common flea infestation symptoms in dogs and possible solutions. We will also have a few practical tips on how to inspect your canine buddy for fleas and how to stop a full-blown infestation on its tracks.

How Do I Check My Dog For Fleas?

When it comes to controlling fleas in dogs, prevention is always better than cure. In essence, you want to detect the problem early before it becomes too much to handle. Here are a few suggestions to consider:

Inspecting Flea Dirt

One of the first things to look out for is flea dirt. Just run a flea comb over your dog. Make sure the comb goes deep down the coat towards the pooch’s skin. If your furry little friend has flea, the comb will have small black specks, also known as flea dirt.

If you don’t have a flea comb, you can improvise using common household items. Find a sheet of white paper or a white fabric cover. Place it underneath the pooch and rub your hands all across the pet’s fur. If you see little dark particles spread all over the white sheet, it suggests the pooch has fleas.

Carry on to damp the white sheet to see if there are any red spots diffusing in the moisture around these little black particles. If you do, that means those particles are indeed flea poop, made of digested blood from your poor pooch.

Inspect Your Entire Home Too

It is also a good rule to inspect your home for fleas. The last thing you want is to remove fleas from the pooch and leave them all over your house. They will just keep coming back. Typically, the first step is to inspect for flea eggs on furniture and carpeting. The eggs look like small salt and pepper particles.

In some cases, it is possible to spot full-grown fleas. These nuisance pests are very tiny. But their black or dark brown color should be easier to spot on the backdrop of brightly colored carpets and furniture.

Symptoms Of Dog Dying From Fleas

Typically, fleas are not deadly pests. Your dog can easily handle them.

However, the effects of fleas on your pooch’s health will depend totally on the severity of the infestation. Full-blown infestations, where your canine buddy is infested by thousands of fleas, will pose deadly risks to your dog.

Here are some signs to look out for.

Symptoms Of Canine Anemia

Fleas feed on the dog’s blood. If lots of these pests infest the host, then the dog will lose too much blood and become anemic. Canine anemia occurs when the dog loses too much red blood cells. Naturally, your four-legged furry friend will replenish lost red blood cells through the bone marrow.

But if the dog is losing too much blood too fast, then it will not have any fighting chance. Canine anemia is a deadly health condition that will kill your pooch if not treated in time. Common signs to look out for include:

  • Dog’s gums change from healthy dark pink to pale pink or whitish
  • Inexplicable bruising on the pooch’s skin
  • Extreme dog fatigue
  • Dark blood in the stool and the vomit

Once you’ve noticed any of these signs, contact a vet immediately. Anemia if not treated could lead to additional health issues that will be more complicated and expensive to treat.

Skin Inflammation And Damage

Some dogs will also have severe allergic reactions to fleas. As a matter of fact, the itching we see in flea-infested dogs starts when the pooch’s skin reacts to the flea saliva. Dogs that are more sensitive to allergies will suffer the most from flea bites. In that case, inspect the dog for any signs of significant skin damage or inflammation.

What Kills Fleas On Dogs Instantly?

The moment you spot any signs of flea infestation on your dog, it’s time to take decisive measures and remedy the problem. Naturally, most people will consider some homemade solutions. Here are several flea treatments that you can go for:

[Good To Know] Want to know what other ways there are to get rid of fleas on your dogs and in your house? Do check out our compiled list of a WHOPPING 37 Ways to Naturally Prevent and Get Rid of Fleas in Dogs.
Learn more >

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a pretty good homemade flea remedy. The great news is that baking soda kills even the eggs and larvae. However, do not apply baking soda alone on your pooch’s fur. Combine it with warm water, salt, and human shampoo for the best results. Baking soda dehydrates the flea eggs and stops them from hatching.

White Vinegar

Well, vinegar is not going to kill fleas per se, but acts more as a repellent. The premise here is that fleas, just like many other blood-sucking pests, hate the smell and taste of vinegar. In that case, they are likely to stay away from your little furry friend.

As a rule of thumb, use vinegar as a complementary treatment. In other words, only apply it after treating the pooch with solutions that kill the fleas and their eggs.

Essential Oils

It is also advisable to use essential oils to repel and remove fleas from your dog. These oils are generally very effective against Arthropods, fleas included. Well, there are many essential oils in the market right now. But the Cliganic USDA Organic Lavender Essential Oil stands out, and for good reasons.

First, this oil is 100% pure, natural, and completely organic. No additives or fragrances are included. It’s just one ingredient, lavender oil. This makes it very safe to use. The oil is also USDA certified and ships in a nice well-labeled bottle. It’s highly recommended as a long term flea repellant for your little pooch.

Topical Dog Flea Treatments

If going all-natural doesn’t help to remove your dog fleas, you should consider getting topical dog flea treatments instead. These are scientifically formulated drops that you apply on your dog’s skin, which contains a form of pesticide that is proven to kill & repel fleas.

Some of the more popular topical dog flea treatments include:

  1. Bayer Advantage II
  2. PetArmor Plus
  3. K9 Advantix II
  4. Frontline Plus
  5. SENTRY Fiproguard (Click here to check price)


SPOTLIGHT: Wonder what essential oils can keep fleas on your dogs at bay and your house smelling fragrant? Check out these 12 extremely effective essential oils that can do these miracles!
Learn more by clicking here!

Will Giving My Dog A Bath Get Rid Of Fleas?

Yes, bathing your four-legged buddy is the best way to get rid of fleas. However, how you go about this depends on the extent of the infestation. If we are talking about small numbers of fleas here and there, then washing the pooch with regular shampoo should work. But, if the infestation is too much, you will need to take more decisive measures.

A good rule would be to start the bath with water and normal dishwasher soap to kill the fleas. The lather from dishwasher soap destroys the flea’s exoskeletons and eventually drowns them to death in the water. After that, you can go ahead and clean your furry friend with regular dog shampoo.

What Shampoo Should I Use?

Generally, most shampoo brands will help kill fleas. But the HONEYDEW Lavender Oatmeal Dog Shampoo is especially very effective. The product is perfect for dogs with sensitive skin too. It is enhanced with lavender and essential oils, two very important flea repellants. Use it regularly to keep your four-legged furry friend safe from these pests.

Cleansing Dog Shampoo for Smelly Dogs - Refreshing Colloidal Oatmeal Dog Shampoo for Dry Skin and Dog Bath Soap - Moisturizing Dog Shampoo Oatmeal Lavender Formula for Great Smelling Dog Wash
  • Dog Oatmeal Shampoo - Try one of the best dog shampoo formulas handcrafted to cleanse and moisturize dry skin and fur for a pet shampoo for dogs that’s a dog grooming supplies and pet bath staple
Wonder which is the best dog flea shampoo to get rid of the fleas on your dogs? Check out these 7 right here!

How Long Does It Take To Remove Flea?

Well, keep in mind that dealing with fleas is often a long term process. The first step is of course removing the pests from the dog. You will also need to disinfect your entire home. Even with these measures, it will take you two to four months to fully get rid of the infestation.

What To Do If Your Dog Has Fleas In The House?

So, if your pooch is infested with fleas, it can only mean that the dog has spread these pests all over the house. In that case, you will have no choice but to treat the entire house for fleas. Here are some signs that indicate your home is infested:

  • You will easily spot the fleas hopping on your carpets, drapery, or furniture. These pests tend to be black or dark brown.
  • Small black particles, spread all over the carpet and furniture, also indicates the existence of flea dirt.
  • Unusual itchy bites that leave red spots on your skin, especially at night.

How To Remove Flea From Your Home?

Fleas will not thrive in a clean and disinfected environment.

This is why cleaning your home thoroughly will be the best solution to get rid of them. Start by vacuum cleaning the carpets and the furniture. This helps to remove any fully grown fleas plus their larvae and eggs. Secondly, clean using a solution of dishwasher soap, baking soda, and water. A steam cleaner is also another viable option to help to eradicate fleas.

Using Flea Repellants

Once you’ve cleaned your entire home, it is important to apply flea repellants so that the problem does not return. Essential oils are very effective in keeping these pests away. For that reason, be sure to get this Dekugaa Essential Oil Diffuser.

The device is designed to gradually release essential oils into your indoor environment. This helps to refresh the air, and to repel fleas and other pests. The diffuser also comes with a timer and remote control for easy operation.

Related Questions

Can You Feel Fleas Crawling? Yes, if the fleas are crawling on your skin, you will feel some sensations. However, you cannot hear the pests crawling on other surfaces. This is because fleas are very small and you can therefore only hope to spot them with your eyes alone.

Are Fleas Visible To The Human Eye? Yes, full grown adult fleas are visible to the human eye. But these pesky pests are very good at hiding. Unless you are paying very close attention, it’s so easy to miss them. Besides, fleas are very small, nearly the size of a dirt particle. Don’t feel bad if you can’t see them right away.

Can I Get Fleas From My Dog? Yes, it is very much possible to get fleas from your four legged furry buddy. Nonetheless, fleas often prefer dogs, cats, and other animals as their hosts due to their lush body hair. They will however occasionally jump from dogs onto humans.

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