While fleas are one of the most common parasites affecting dogs they are also one of the most uncomfortable. They will cause your dog to itch and scratch which could lead to further infections! Our vets in Cumming share some of the signs of fleas, and what to do if your pet does have fleas.
What Are Fleas?
Just like all other types of parasites, fleas rely on a host to survive. Unless steps are taken to break their lifecycle, adult fleas will continue to reproduce and thrive on not only your pet but also in your home.
What Are The Common Signs Of A Flea Infestation?
Cats and dogs may be allergic to the protein in flea saliva, which is why they often scratch as soon as a flea bites their skin. Even one flea bite may cause pets to scratch excessively and become agitated.
Besides scratching, red bumps or pimples may appear on their belly, at the base of their tail or on their behind, on their groin, or under their legs. The constant itching and scratching of these areas will cause dry skin and hair loss. Lesions and infections can develop and lead to more severe diseases if fleas are left untreated.
What Is The Easiest Way To Check For Fleas?
You will be able to spot adult fleas just by examining your pet. These fleas will be brown specks moving around on your pet's skin and within their fur.
It's a good idea to check your pet's brush or comb while you're grooming them. Having your pet lie on its side will let you have a closer look at areas with thin hair, such as the abdomen.
You may see "flea dirt". This looks similar to tiny grains of sand, or black pepper when wet. To check for flea dirt (feces), use a fine-tooth flea comb available at your vet's office to comb along your pet's back and underbelly. By standing your pet on a white towel or cloth while brushing them, you will be able to easily see any black droppings that fall from their fur.
Help, My Pet Is Scratching But Doesn't Have Fleas!
If you have already ruled out scratching but your pet has continued scratching, schedule an appointment with your vet, who can administer a skin test to check for flea allergies, in addition to other types of allergies during your visit. Your pet may be reacting to another type of allergy that's making them uncomfortable.
How Can A Flea Infestation Be Treated?
Several safe and effective treatments can be used to eliminate fleas, including shampoos, sprays, powders, and topical liquids. You may need to visit your vet for prescription creams and antibiotics if your pet's case is more severe.
Early treatment and prevention are the first methods of choice to ensure your dog doesn't develop more serious issues in the future due to fleas.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.