The nature of most dogs is very playful and exploratory. So you probably can’t stop them from wandering around, especially if you have a large yard. That’s good because it helps your dog maintain instincts. And it’s bad because of the fleas that live in the tall grass. They’d be rather happy to ‘move’ to your pet’s warm skin and thick fur.
These tiny parasites feed on your pet’s blood, and that’s how they cause them to scratch and bite themselves. As pups can’t get rid of these pests easily, they spread them throughout your home. Fleas can get into clothes, rugs, and sheets and can really get on your nerves.
But these insects are not only annoying; they can also be quite dangerous. Fleas can aggravate certain respiratory conditions, such as hay fever, causing your pet to experience an allergic reaction. On this website, learn how to recognize hay fever symptoms.
These insects are also triggers of severe infestation that can lead to anemia in young animals, as these bugs feed on the red blood cells of their hosts. It can cause life-threatening conditions, but spotting early signs of infestation and timely treatment can help.
Itching and Biting
Fleas live on your dog’s fur and may cause itching and chewing, especially during the spring and summer, when their hair is thickest. However, as the coat of some breeds is lush and long, you can’t spot these parasites easily. Instead, they will lay eggs deep down the hair, near the skin. They can also carry tapeworm eggs, which migrate to your dog’s small intestines and hatch into adult tapeworms.
Suppose you notice dogs biting themselves, scratching, or rubbing onto walls, ground, or furniture more than usual. That can happen for several reasons, and one of the most common is allergy. Your dog may be allergic to certain additives or micronutrients, and switching to a different food might help.
But if you know that your pets don’t have problems with allergies, another logical answer is that they probably have unwanted guests. Flea bites may cause irritation or even an allergy reaction. Many dogs will chew on their feet to relieve the discomfort.
Red Spots and Shedding
In order to reproduce, adult fleas must eat your dog’s blood. So they usually stay with the host only for a few hours at a time. However, if a single bite happens, it can cause intense itching and biting. Besides, affected animals may scratch or lick inflamed skin. As a result, some areas will develop red hot spots, usually on the rump, tail, or legs.
Also, infected dogs may experience hair loss or red, bumpy, or shiny skin, especially in bite sites. You can also see bold spots in your pup’s fur. Infected animals may shed large areas of hair, even when it’s not shedding season. That happens because dogs will tear their hair out due to unbearable itching.
More tips on prevent shedding in your furry buddy find on the following source:
Visible Cocoons and Scabs
Dogs can pick up fleas from other animals or grass and not even be aware of them until the itching becomes unbearable. The flea saliva can be highly irritating and cause an intense allergic reaction. Even dogs that are not allergic may scratch due to annoyance.
Fleas prefer dark, warm areas like armpits, groins, and ears. Adult insects may live for several months as their tiny bodies make them hard to spot. So they can remain dormant and unnoticed until the infestation becomes too severe. They can also easily hide in carpets and rugs.
A visible infestation in dogs is a serious problem. Although flea bites on dogs are not easy to spot, these parasites leave marks. You can see them if your dog’s fur is bright, as these insects are often grouped in clusters.
In places where fleas lay eggs, you can see hundreds of mites, eventually turning into adult parasites (pupa). Once larvae are present, they enter their next stage and begin feeding on the host. After a meal, the pupas emerge and start laying eggs. They may also form small scabs with a light red halo.
Another obvious sign of an infestation is so-called flea dirt. You’ll spot it on your dog’s hair, bedding, or anywhere your furry buddy lays. It’s a fine, pepper-like residue, which is actually dried blood. It can be hard to remove, but using Advocate flea treatment will spare you of that torment.
Don’t confuse flea dirt with eggs, which are small and oval-shaped. Also, you can distinguish it from ‘regular’ dirt if you simply put it on a paper towel and sprinkle it with water. These specks will turn dark red or brown, showing themselves as blood residue.
Besides physical discomfort, flea bites can significantly impact your dog’s behavior. For example, if you see some unusual or anxious behavior in your four-legged buddy, it may also indicate infestation. Likewise, you can see your pet doing unusual things, like digging around the yard or hiding from you.
Anxious dogs may even become aggressive towards you, making it difficult to ignore their anxiety. Infected animals may seem restless or nervous or may shake their heads frequently. If things have gone that far, it’s important to consult a vet. Besides treatment against parasites, they’ll prescribe something to calm your pet as anxious behavior can be very problematic.
How to Treat Flea Infestation
It is important to treat flea infestation as soon as possible before these pests develop into adults. Not only do these parasites make your pet itchy and scratchy, but they’re highly contagious. Your pet can easily pass the infestation to other animals and humans.
Getting rid of fleas in your dog doesn’t always require seeing a vet, especially if you spot the infestation early. You can handle minor infestations with DIY treatments (as described on this page). You’ll also have to wash and disinfect places where your dog spends time and things they usually use (your stuff, too).
Severe infestation requires vet help. Pet health experts can prescribe anti-parasitic medications to kill off the insects. However, some commercial treatments contain toxic ingredients, so never buy them alone. Always ask experts for recommendations, especially if your pet has a medical history. Your vet will know how to adjust anti-parasite treatment with the current therapy your dog might take.
Fleas may be tiny and seem harmless, but they are a dangerous enemy. To defeat them, you need to understand their life cycle and the signs that indicate their presence. You can get rid of these parasites, but always consult a vet for the best and most efficient pest elimination advice.