Dog fleas are one of the most common parasites that can infest your furry friend. They are not only annoying and uncomfortable for your dog, but they can also pose health risks for you and your family. But how can you tell if your dog has fleas? What do dog fleas look like to the human eye?
The Appearance of Dog Fleas
Dog fleas are small, dark brown insects that belong to the order Siphonaptera. They have six legs, a flat body, and a pair of antennae. They are wingless, but they can jump up to 30 cm in the air, making them very agile and hard to catch. So what do fleas look like to the human eye? Well, they are about 2 to 3 mm long, which is roughly the size of a sesame seed.
Dog fleas are very hard to spot on a dog’s fur, especially if the dog has a dark or thick coat. They tend to hide in areas where the fur is dense or where the skin is warm, such as the neck, ears, armpits, groin, and tail. They may also be found in your dog’s bedding, carpet, furniture, or other places where your dog spends time.
Dog fleas feed on the blood of dogs and other animals, such as cats, rabbits, rodents, and humans. They have mouthparts that pierce the skin and suck the blood. They can stay attached to their host for several hours or days, depending on the availability of food and the temperature.
The Signs and Symptoms of Dog Fleas
The most obvious sign that your dog has fleas is scratching. Dog fleas can cause intense itching, irritation, and inflammation in your dog’s skin. Your dog may also bite or lick the affected areas, causing hair loss, redness, scabs, or wounds.
Some dogs may also develop an allergic reaction to flea saliva, known as flea allergy dermatitis (FAD). This is a condition where the dog’s immune system overreacts to the flea bites, causing severe itching, swelling, and rashes. FAD can affect any part of the body, but it is more common on the back, belly, legs, and tail.
Another sign that your dog has fleas is flea dirt. Flea dirt is the faeces of fleas that contain digested blood. It looks like small black specks or grains of sand on your dog’s fur or skin. You can confirm that it is flea dirt by placing some on a wet paper towel. If it turns red or brown, it means that it is flea dirt.
Further Information On Fleas
Dog fleas are small, dark brown insects that can cause a lot of trouble for your dog and yourself. They can cause itching, irritation, allergies, anemia, tapeworms and other problems. To prevent and treat dog fleas, you should keep your dog clean and groomed, use flea products, wash your dog’s bedding and your home.
If you want to learn more about how to handle flea infestations, you should check how to avoid fleas in the Summer created in partnership with Bob Martin. You will find a lot of useful information and guidance on how to deal with fleas effectively and safely.