Most dogs pick up fleas at least once in their lifetime. Fleas are the most common external parasite found on dogs, and whether you live in the city or the country, there are plenty of opportunities for fleas to hitch a ride (and a meal) on your dog, and enter your home.
Flea eggs are dropped anywhere a flea-infested pet has been — and that includes cats trespassing through your garden. The good news is early detection can stop fleas from multiplying and causing problems on your dog and in your home.
Here are five clear signs that fleas might be feasting on your dog.
1. Abnormal scratching, licking and/or biting
The first sign a flea is on a dog is often unrelenting scratching. Fleas like to hide in hard to reach places such as the head, neck, tail-base and groin. If your dog is scratching, licking or biting these places, it may be an indication of fleas.
2. Unusual red patches
Red bumps, rashes and irritation on your dog’s skin may be the result of a hypersensitivity to flea saliva and an indication that your dog is suffering from flea bites.
3. Hair loss or inflamed skin
Excessive biting and scratching due to flea bites may lead to hair loss and/or skin inflammation. Don’t worry! Your veterinarian can suggest a treatment plan.
4. See fleas on your dog
Fleas are small, fast-moving brown insects that can be seen crawling along the skin at the bottom of the hair coat. They look very thin from above and are almost impossible to squash with your fingers.
5. Flea dirt
Flea dirt is the tiny pepper-like specks left on your dog’s coat and around your home. This is actually flea faeces, which is digested blood. You can spot flea dirt in two ways.
- The first way is to spray water on the flea dirt (against a white paper towel). If the dirt leaves a red or rust-coloured streak, it is flea dirt.
- The second way to spot flea dirt is to wear white socks in areas your dog likes to spend time. If reddish particles are visible on the fibres of your socks, it is likely flea dirt.
Check your dog for fleas regularly. Fleas are not seasonal parasites, as long as the climate meets their primal condition of 18-30°C and a level of humidity above 50% they can be active. If you suspect your dog has fleas, consult a veterinarian. If fleas are confirmed, other pets in your household will need treatment too. You also may need to treat your home. Frequent vacuuming and washing of your dog’s bedding can decrease the number of fleas in your home.
Just one dose of Bravecto will protect your dog against fleas for 3 months with Bravecto chew and 6 months with Bravecto spot-on solution for dogs. These products will also make sure that the flea life cycle is interrupted which is key to getting a flea infestation in your home under control.
If you follow these steps, your dog should be flea-free before you know it!