Does your dog have fleas and how do you know? Fleas are particularly common in warmer temperatures and, if the conditions are right, will burrow their way through the fur to your dog’s skin. They stay there comfortable and hidden while they feast on your dog’s blood causing irritation, itchiness and inflammation of the area.
It’s often our first thought when you see your dog itching uncontrollably; “my dog has fleas”. It can be difficult to tell the difference between a dog with fleas and one who is just enjoying a good itch! Here are the top 4 ways to tell if your dog has fleas.
- A dog with fleas will usually show visible signs of irritation and restlessness. If your dog is shaking its head, scratching, licking, or chewing on certain parts of its body more than usual, this may be a sign of fleas. Fleas are a dark brown colour and can be spotted just by inspecting your dog’s fur. Focus your attention behind the ears, in the armpits, around the groin, and above the tail on their rump as these are particularly common areas for fleas to congregate. Note, this approach can be difficult as fleas are fast and will quickly move to another part of the fur to hide as you separate the hair looking for them.
- A flea comb is a comb specifically designed to catch fleas when run through the fur. If using a flea comb, make sure you are combing close to the skin where the fleas may be and that you have a bowl of soapy water on hand as this will hold any caught fleas.
- Creating a flea trap is easy to do and is another good clue into whether your dog has fleas. Place a lit candle in the middle of a plate of soapy water and put it in a dark room near where your dog sleeps (making sure it’s out of reach of your dog so it doesn’t drink the soapy water). Fleas will be attracted to the candle and may get caught in the soapy water when trying to jump to the candle!
If you think your dog has fleas, speak to your vet to seek treatment. Make sure your dog’s flea and tick medication is up to date to help prevent the problem in future.