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How to Check for Fleas

What to Look for When You're Looking For Fleas

By Kim Compton. January 01, 2011 | See Comments

How to Check for Fleas

Learn how to check for fleas on your pet by using a flea comb.

If you are a parent and your child has ever been sent home from school with lice, you know the guilty feelings that can go along with it: Could I have done something to prevent this? Is my kid not clean enough? Are all the other parents judging me? Don’t beat yourself up.  In reality, kids can pick up lice anytime, anywhere. Same goes for fleas. No matter how well groomed your dog or cat, fleas can get the best of any pet-owner.

The best thing you can do (aside from making sure your pet is receiving proper preventative care--we are partial to spot on and oral options) is to check your pet regularly. Fleas are often tiny and hard to see with the naked eye, so pay attention if your pup is scratching more than usual or your cat seems highly irritable (or at least more irritable than usual)--a small flea infestation may be to blame.

When in Doubt, Brush Them Out

The simplest and most effective way to check for fleas is with a flea comb. This basic process will allow you to see under your dog’s fluffy and furry coat to see signs of trouble. Look for red bumps, black dots and flea dirt (aka flea feces). Often times, these signs are found toward the base of the tail.

Not blessed with 20/20 vision? Even with prescription glasses, fleas can be difficult to detect. To make sure you aren’t missing the cold hard evidence, have your dog or cat lay down on a white sheet or towel while you comb or blow dry their fur. Often times, fleas will jump off or flea dirt will fall, making them stand out. To ensure you are not sounding the alarm for normal outdoor garden mud, rub any collected flea dirt or dark spots onto a wet tissue or paper towel. If the substance turns from black to a dark rust color, you have identified “flea dirt” or flea feces, which contains blood.

To prevent any future flea issues, it is recommended by veterinarians and pet specialist that both cats and dogs receive year-round preventative treatment. However, if you do detect fleas on your pet, treatment options are varied, simple and effective.

More Flea and Tick Control Advice

How to Use a Flea Comb
Flea and Tick Season: When to Use What Treatment
What's the Best Way to Get Rid of Fleas for Your Pet?

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by,your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.

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