How Does My Dog Get Fleas?

PET CHECK BLOG - dog scratching fleas

\\\ Dog Fleas

\\\ updated 7 October 2021

Is Your Dog Constantly Scratching?

Have You Checked Your Dog For Fleas?

Fleas On Dogs

How often have you seen a tiny black inspect, as small as a pin prick at home, possibly jumping around on a surface? Probably several times as more fleas are actually living in the home than outside, generally brought in by your dog.

If you’re new to owning a dog then you’ll properly wonder why your dog is scratching and biting itself so vigorously as this is a sure sign it’s time to treat your dog for fleas. Failing to treat your dog can lead to other health conditions.

PETCHECK BLOG - Close up of Flea on an animal

The image featured above shows a flea latched onto the dogs skin. The top image provides a large close up of a flea.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a flea? A tiny insect that lives off of the blood of a host, such as a dog. They jump on them and continue to live on them, in their fur, whilst feeding off their blood. 

Where does my dog get fleas from? Fleas live in vegetation such a parks, so it’s very easy when dog walking for your dog to be a target of a flea to jump on and hitch a ride. Dogs play with other dogs and they jump between dogs and even cats and pet rabbits to dogs.

Do fleas bite dogs? Yes, and cause much distress by staying on the dog’s skin. It injects saliva into the dogs skin and can cause an allergic reaction.

How do I know my dog has fleas? Your dog is very likely to be scratching and biting themselves vigorously. Sometimes sitting down for minutes on end trying to scratch these tiny animals out of their coat and off their skin. It can cause hair loss, creating bald patches, areas of redness and irritation, thickened skin around ears in particular. Regular grooming of your pets keeps their coats cleaner and will show if your pet has any fleas or ticks.

How do I get rid of them? Vets advise using ‘spot on’ products, regularly applying products and to also take the opportunity to worm your dog.

Do I need to go to the vet? No, regular treatments can be done at home with treatments suitable for dogs. If you are unsure then a visit to the vet is recommended or an online veterinarian 24/7 call website can help.

How do vets examine my dog? They will establish if they are just fleas, or other insects, by doing a physical examination, by flea combing and analyse what other parasites are present such as skin mites. They will want to determine whether your pet is suffering from other allergic reactions and whether ear mites are present. 

Am I insured? Most insurance companies will not cover you for your animals’ routine treatments such as flea treatments and worming and dental care. Nor will they cover you if your pet develops other associated health conditions which could have been prevented by these types of regular routine treatments. 

How long do fleas live? A flea can live from 14 days to one year and a female can lay up to 50 eggs in one day on your dog. Fleas can stay with the host pet for many months so it’s important to clean their bedding and blankets regularly. Likewise, it’s important to vacuum around the home throwing away the dust bags after use, clean all furniture, clean floors and skirtings to help destroy the fleas. 

If I have a dog with fleas should I treat my other pets? Yes, it’s important to flea your pets regularly and at the same time, but using treatments specially prepared for those pets, whether a cat, dog or pet rabbit. 

How often should I buy dog flea products? Regular treatment is a must, not just for fleas, but worming, and lice and ticks. Products can be purchase at all major pet stores, shops, supermarkets and online specialist companies.  

What if I’m a new user and not sure? Read 5 Star reviews left about the products before purchasing if unsure. Ask your friends what they use on their dogs, or when out with the friendly dog walking community.

How do I use the products? Products on the market are generally powders or liquid to pop onto the dogs coat. Full instructions are included with the products. Recently more firms are offering regular subscription services where products are delivered to your door every month tailored to your dogs needs, so that you never forget.

How do I know it’s been successful? Your dog will quite quickly stop showing the signs of discomfort, stop itching and biting itself. If you comb your dogs fur popping a sheet of white paper on the floor and you find flecks of black changing to red when you wet the paper, this is flea dirt and they are still in the dogs coat.

When do dogs become infested? Dog and other pets can become infested anytime. Applying treatment regularly means your pet becomes protected for weeks.

What are tapeworms? Worms are parasites that live within your dog’s intestines. Lungworms, tapeworms and hookworms all grow rapidly when your dog eats something containing a parasite.

When do I treat them? It’s very likely that if your pet has fleas it may have contracted tapeworm. It’s best to treat both symptoms together. There are combined treatments available on the market.

How often do I have to treat my dog? This varies according to your dog’s lifestyle, habits, size, and other pets living at your home. Treatments purchased will provide estimated times required before further treatments may be needed.

Does my home need cleaning? Fleas will fall around the home from your pet’s coat. If your home is not cleaned and protected then your pet will not become flea-free, so it’s very important to hoover thoroughly around the home and empty the bag immediately and carefully after the hoovering, clean all surfaces, floors and skirtings and your dog’s bed including a high temperature wash, where possible, to kill any remaining parasites.

PET CHECK BLOG - Dog having flea treatment

Pet being treated for fleas with spot on treatments

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