Whether you’re a cat, a dog, or a human, the evidence of a flea bite is usually felt before it's seen. But how do you know if that itchy red dot was caused by a flea or another pest? Learn what flea bites look like and how to spot them.
Why Do Fleas Bite?
Fleas are parasitic insects that feed off the blood of warm-blooded animals. Their mouths have adapted to pierce skin and suck blood from their hosts, which cat be the cat, dog, or other animal they live on. Fleas feed off their hosts for sustenance and survival, and females lay up to 200 eggs at a time in the first 48 hours of feeding.
Common pet fleas prefer to live on either cats or dogs, but will not likely discriminate if you have both in your home. Adult fleas can live without blood for months at a time, but if they have already taken up residence on your pet, they won’t likely be fasting.
Flea Bites on Pets
Flea bites on cats or dogs sometimes appear as raised red dots that are smaller than typical bug bites. In many cases, you might not be able to see the bites on your pet’s skin despite an infestation of fleas. An animal or pet that is allergic to the flea bite will have a reaction, which can result in a much larger area of redness.
Symptoms of Flea Bites on Pets
- raised, red bite marks
When pets itch their flea bites, the symptoms can worsen or bites can become infected. Pets that are hypersensitive to flea saliva may feel an itching sensation over their entire body from just one bite. Severe reactions can lead to hair-loss, inflammation, and skin infections.
Are Flea Bites Evident on Pets?
Finding actual flea bites on your pet can be difficult. You may or may not see small bites on their skin, or distinct areas of redness when you sort through their fur. The best way to determine if the bite came from a flea rather than a mite or a different pest is to search for evidence of fleas. Read more on checking your pet for fleas.
Flea Bites on Humans
Cat and dog fleas prefer to hide in thick fur, and cannot live on human bodies. They can, however, take a juicy bite before they jump onto a more suitable host. Flea bites on people tend to be smaller than mosquito bites, or even pimples. In areas where itching occurs, look for tiny, red, raised bumps about the size of a needle mark on your skin. Flea bites on humans typically appear on ankles and lower legs. If you’re not sure it’s a flea bite, check your pets for fleas. They will carry more evidence of an infestation.
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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.