How To Tell Your Dog Has Fleas – What do dog fleas look like? Can my dog have worms? Why are ticks so dangerous? These are just some of the questions that Derbyshire dog owners ask us at our Appleby Magna Veterinary Clinic.
In this article, our Chief Veterinarian, Caroline Ward, invites all dog owners to take a closer look at common dog parasites before spring. Caroline shares everything you need to know about dog fleas, worms and ticks below, and here you can download our handy infographic highlighting common signs to look out for:
How To Tell Your Dog Has Fleas
In addition to causing your dog itchiness, pain and discomfort, fleas are a serious health hazard. They lay flea eggs on dogs and in your home and reproduce quickly. Flea infestations can cause anemia (due to the amount of blood they consume), which can be fatal, especially in puppies or sick dogs.
How To Get Rid Of Fleas On Dogs: Treatments, Tips & More
Caroline advises owners not to let fleas spend all their time on pets. Fleas can also survive in cracks and crevices, on furniture and carpets throughout the year. If your dog becomes infected with fleas, you will need to treat him, your home and other pets – never share flea treatments for different types of pets.
Fleas are common in the environment and can be easily picked up in the garden, on a walk or from other pets that carry them. The only way to prevent your dog from contracting fleas is to treat them (and cats, if you have them) regularly throughout the year with a flea preventative recommended by your veterinarian. One-time treatments can get rid of existing fleas, but they won’t protect your pets in the future like many over-the-counter medications do.
Dog fleas are small, black/brown and swell after feeding on blood. Sometimes you may notice them crawling or jumping on your dog or you. To help you spot other signs of fleas, check out Caroline’s guide to dog parasites here.
In order to provide your dog with continuous lifelong protection, he will need a vet-recommended deworming treatment every 1 to 6 months, depending on your vet’s instructions. Some worms can be devastating to your dog, and some can be passed on to humans, so Caroline stresses the importance of worm prevention.
Hot Spots On Dogs: Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, And Prevention
Ticks mostly live in forest, tall grass and fields where cattle or deer graze. Although they are most common in the spring and summer, they can be a year-round problem in some areas.
Ticks are usually small, oval and flat, about the size of a sesame seed. After consuming blood, they can swell to the size of a coffee bean. Caroline advises dog owners to check their dog’s skin (and their own skin) for small lumps after walks.
Ticks attach by inserting their mouthparts into the skin and sucking blood. In rare cases, a tick bite can cause irritation, anemia and temporary paralysis. Ticks can also spread Lyme disease, which also affects humans and can cause a serious, debilitating chronic disease with lifelong complications.
It is important to remove the tick using a special tool in a circular motion, rather than pulling it straight out, as this can leave the head inside and increase the risk of disease transmission. Ask our team about tick removal tools.
How To Tell If Your Pet Has Fleas
Since pets are outside more often in the spring, they are more prone to the risk of picking up parasites. To help you spot the signs of dog tick bites, as well as worms and fleas, check out Caroline’s handy guide to dog parasites:
If you found our article on dog parasites useful, why not share it with your dog-owning friends and family via email, WhatsApp, Messenger or Facebook?
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How Do I Know If My Dog Has Fleas?
We may use advertising services that include tracking beacons that allow us to target our visitors with specific advertisements on other platforms, such as search or social media. These cookies are not mandatory, but they can improve the services we offer and promote. Although pet health starts with taking care of the pets themselves, taking care of your home and your pet’s environment is an integral part of it. Your dog or cat probably spends a lot of time roaming around the house, so it’s important to take flea control seriously in all areas of your home.
When a dog has fleas, you can usually see patches of “flea dirt” (flea droppings!) around the pubic hair. No evidence of fleas here.
According to Iowa State University’s Department of Entomology, if the infestation is light, simple tasks like vacuuming all carpets can be enough to rid your home of fleas. All upholstered furniture should also be thoroughly vacuumed. Any blankets or bedding that your pet usually sleeps on should be thoroughly cleaned or discarded. Cleaning your home is the first step in controlling flea infestations and preventing new ones.
The Best Way To Get Rid Of Fleas & Ticks
If you do not treat your pet against fleas, re-infestation in your home is inevitable. Not only is it smart to protect your pet from fleas to protect the rest of your home, but pests can also put your pet’s health at risk. Constant, severe scratching can cause your pet’s skin to become infected, and in smaller animals, blood loss from a flea infestation can cause anemia. Taking immediate action if you notice your pet has fleas will ensure that there is no danger to their health.
To ensure that your home is free of fleas, you need to focus not only on the interior, but also on the exterior. Fleas can attach themselves to clothing, skin or fur and travel with their new host back into the home and become infested again, even if you have just cleaned your home. There are many pet products that are designed to repel fleas and help keep them out of your home.
Your pet can resist the infection for several days before you notice its effects. It is very important to pay attention to signs of infection. If your pet scratches, licks or bites excessively, it is worth checking for fleas. Seeing more insects in the form of dots on your pet’s coat is another clear indication that your pet may be in trouble.
Sometimes a flea infestation in your home can get out of control and in such cases it is important not to shy away from using all the tools at your disposal. Whether it is pet grooming, intensive cleaning, or professional services, it is imperative that you act quickly and decisively to ensure that fleas do not re-infest your home and pet.
What To Do If Your Dog Has Fleas
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Fleas can jump from dog to human and vice versa. This is not good news for you or your furry friend. However, it is possible to completely get rid of fleas on a pet.
Fleas are wingless insects that live in all regions of the world. Adult fleas are very small and can reach a size of only 1/64 of an inch. Fleas feed exclusively on the blood of mammals and birds.
Of all the unpleasant pests your dog can encounter, fleas are the most common. Their claim to fame is the intense skin inflammation and infection that makes your dog scratch.
What Do Dog Fleas Look Like? Signs Your Dog Has Fleas
There are several signs that your dog has fleas. Here are some things to look out for:
The life cycle of a flea lasts several weeks. But you will probably notice your dog scratching before then.
Flea life stages begin when adult female fleas lay or lay eggs after feeding. Although you may only find one or two adult fleas on a dog at first, fleas can lay hundreds of eggs within a few days.
After feeding, the female flea lays hundreds of pearly white, oval-shaped eggs in the host’s fur. As your dog moves around, the eggs fall and end up on bedding, carpet and outside where they begin to hatch. This stage can last up to six days.
Flea Bites On Dogs: 7 Signs Your Dog Has Fleas
In order for the larvae to hatch, flea eggs must settle in shaded, moist places. Some examples in and around your home include dog kennels, decks, porches,
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