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. The 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). Oftentimes, 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.
Oftentimes, 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 specialists 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. Routine
application of proven anti-flea medications such as Advantix for dogs can effectively keep
disease-causing fleas at bay.
What Does a Flea Bite Look Like?
Whether you’re a cat, a dog, or a human, the evidence of
a flea bite is usually
felt before it's seen. That is why it is so important to use
preventatives like Advantage
for dogs or Advantage
for cats. 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 the
skin and suck blood from their hosts, which cat be the cat,
dog, or other animals 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 a cat that have escalated into flea allergy dermatitis. Usually, the
hair will cover the red bites.
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
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
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
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.
More Flea and Tick Control Advice
How to Use a Flea
Flea and Tick Season:
When to Use What Treatment
What's the Best Way to Get Rid of Fleas for
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 professionals
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.