Flea Bites On Dogs – Should Dog Owners Be Worried?

By Michael Tarran

January 14, 2022

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Letting your dog play with other dogs in the park can be so fun for your dog. However, it comes with a certain downside - your dog could come back home with some fleas.

Flea bites can sometimes be difficult to spot - but if your dog comes down with flea allergy dermatitis, it can become a serious health issue.

So, how can you spot flea bites on dogs?

To find out everything about flea bites - from what they are to how to treat them - continue scrolling!

What Are Fleas?

First off, fleas are pesky creatures that can hold on to your pets for dear life. Cats and dogs can get fleas from other animals - but lucky for you, they won't find a home in humans, at least. The fleas may bite humans - they do feed on human blood - but they will leave since they prefer to live in your dog's fur.

Fleas are small bugs, and they live in the fur of live animals, feeding on their blood. Some pets will even get a strong reaction to fleas living on their skin, though - such as an allergic reaction.

When fleas bite your poor pet to feed on them, they inject flea saliva into the open wound, causing the pet to feel itchy. That is why you can see your pooch scratching at the site.

Another issue with fleas is how quickly they reproduce.

The female flea could lay up to 50 flea eggs in just one day. And since the fleas live for about 100 days, that means your dog could come down with one of the more severe infestations in a matter of a few short weeks.

Fleas are more active during the summer months - but your dog could get them at any time of the year. Even more so, fleas spread pretty fast, and they lay the flea eggs quickly when they find a home in your dog. That's why I advise you to stay alert the entire year and get the flea treatment as soon as possible!

How To Check Your Dog For Fleas?

Your dog can hang around other, unknown dogs all the time without getting any fleas. On the other hand, just one encounter with a flea-infested dog can result in your dog's skin becoming itchy and riddled with skin infections.

You should examine your dog's body from time to time to detect fleas. Luckily, adult fleas are easy to spot in the dog's coat - but they can move out of a visible area immediately.

If your dog has only recently contracted fleas, you might not be able to see them at your first check-up. However, you will be able to see the flea feces, commonly called flea dirt.

Fleas feed on the dog's blood, and the flea dirt contains the blood, making it somewhat easy to see. The flea droppings are easier to see on light fur rather than dark fur, though. So, if your dog's skin and fur are relatively dark, it can be difficult to spot the flea droppings - which is why I advise you to use a flea comb to find the fleas.

Run the fine flea comb through the fur, one section at a time. If your dog does have fleas, you will find fleas - or at least, the flea dirt. That said, flea dirt looks like actual dirt. So, if you aren't too sure if your dog just needs a wash rather than flea treatment, run the comb against a wet white paper or tissue.

If the dirt is just dirt, it will look grayish to brown. On the other hand, the flea dirt will leave a red, rust-like spot on the paper. That is one of the best ways to confirm flea infestations!

What Are The Symptoms Of Your Dog Having Fleas?

Pet with fleas

There are several tell-tale signs pet parents should know about as they can indicate that your dog has come down with fleas.

The first thing you need to look for is the tiny red bumps on the pet's skin - and they are smaller than the common insect bites. The flea bites look like a small cluster or a line or bumps on the skin. The flea bites can cause allergic reactions - and the constant scratching may cause flea scabs on dogs.

How long do flea bites last on dogs?

Well, not too long. Each bite goes away in a few days - but the flea sores on dogs could last quite some time if they become inflamed.

If your dog has fleas, scratching is what you need to look for first. Then, you should look for chewing on the skin, which can result in flea sores on dogs as well as extremely irritated skin. The chewing and scratching can be so severe your poor pooch loses hair on the itchiest spots.

Most dogs don't come down with serious symptoms because of a flea outbreak - but an itchy dog could get flea allergy dermatitis because of the flea bites. A dog with this type of allergy develops an allergic reaction to the flea saliva in the pet's blood - resulting in more itching and serious skin infections.

If you're not sure, consider doing an at-home allergy test for dogs; 5Strands Pet Standard Package is my go-to.

Don't treat the flea bite as something minor; a flea infestation could even result in your dog getting tapeworms because of the skin chewing. How? Well, the dog eats the fleas - and everything else they find on the coat. Tapeworms are not usually serious, but they can result in joint pain if left untreated for too long.

How To Get Rid Of Fleas?

Dog after a bath

Getting rid of fleas is generally easier said than done. The best course of action is to avoid flea bites altogether - but there are good dog products you can use to kill fleas.

Before all else, you should ensure your dog doesn't have flea allergy dermatitis or a severe infestation. Dogs can suffer from blood loss if they're dealing with fleas for quite some time and things get out of hand.

Now, if your pooch is fine in that sense, it's time to treat the flea bites with a generous amount of flea shampoo. Lather your pet's fur with soapy water, using the shampoo that kills fleas specifically.

There will be plenty of flea bites on dogs' stomachs, along with flea bites on dogs' ears, which is why I advise you to carefully wash every part of your dog. The shampoo should get rid of adult fleas and flea droppings.

However, remember that if your dog has fleas, it's more than likely that the fleas have found their way around your house. To remove the fleas, you will need to wash everything, including rugs, pillows, and the like - everything your dog came across. Unfortunately, that's the only effective way of preventing fleas from getting a blood meal out of your pooch again.

The flea infestation needs to be treated thoroughly; vacuum and clean everything to kill adult fleas and continue doing so for a few weeks to remove fleas from your home. While you're at it, consider removing the rugs for a while, leaving the bare hardwood floors, as they're easier to clean to prevent fleas from sneaking back into your home.

How to soothe flea bites on my dog?

I know your dog is already uncomfortable from all that scratching - which is why you should apply some topical ointment on the bites. Do remember that you should apply the ointment around 48 hours after you use dog shampoo to treat flea bites.

How To Treat Flea Allergy Dermatitis?

If you suspect your dog is experiencing flea allergy dermatitis, I recommend that you seek emergency veterinary advice immediately! It can be a serious deal for your poor dog - besides the intense itching!

The veterinarian will prescribe some oral medications and skin ointments to soothe the flea bites on dogs. Along with that, your vet may advise you on other ways to prevent flea bites for pet owners. Flea control is, by far, the most effective way to maintain your pet's health, after all.

Preventing A Flea Problem

If your dog has fleas far too often, you should consult with your veterinarian on ways to prevent new fleas from "attacking." It's not enough to soothe flea bites on dogs; you should do everything in your power to prevent flea bites.

Flea collars are very effective for deterring unwanted fleas - but you should be wary about your dog's time in the park. Be careful about your dog's playmates, other pets, as well as the time spent in the tall grass.

If you spot some hair loss, it could be due to another flea problem. However, consult your vet first since flea bites look like mosquito bites in some cases. Getting some pictures of flea bites on a dog's belly can be enough for your vet to diagnose the bites correctly.

Flea Bites On Dogs - Bottom Line

To conclude, preventing flea bites is the key to keeping your dog healthy. A flea infestation is extremely uncomfortable - but the good news is that fleas are pretty simple to treat.

Sure, it will take some time to clean everything and kill adult fleas. However, seeing your dog recover from hair loss will make it worth it!

If you experience issues with flea treatment, consult your vet on some extra steps you can take to help your pup!

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Michael Tarran

About Me

I'm a devoted pet parent to two lovely creatures – Charlie the Cat and Jimmy the Dog – a full-time assistant pet store manager, and an animal shelter volunteer. I've gathered knowledge about pets for almost a decade, and it all started in a small store called Jack's Pets.

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