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How to spot fleas on your dog or cat

How to Spot Fleas on Your Dog or Cat – and how to get rid of them!

Fleas are tiny yet nasty bugs that like to live in your pet’s coat and feed off his blood from sucking it through the skin. Doesn’t sound too great does it? In this blog post we’re going to help you spot the signs of fleas on your dog or cat, show you how to get rid of them, and stop them from coming back!

Top 5 Things to Know About Fleas on Your Pet

Knowing a little more about fleas, and how they like to live, will help you understand just why it is so important to know how to protect your pet from having them come to live in their coat. Our Top 5 Things to Know about Fleas are:

  1. Fleas can’t fly, but they can hop up to 18 centimetres, which is how they move around so quickly
  2. Fleas can live in carpets, bedding, clothing and upholstery as well as on your dog’s coat
  3. Fleas don’t just like dogs or cat, they will also nibble on other pets, as well as humans
  4. A fully grown adult flea will measure about 3mm, while their larve can be up to 5mm, making them tricky to spot without careful examination
  5. It’s estimated that for every one adult flea that you there is about 100 immature ones nearby

Signs That Your Dog or Cat Might Have Fleas

  1. Obsessive Itching – Scratching is one of the most common signs that your dog or cat may have fleas. These tiny insects will cause pain to your pet when they bite, but the salivary gland in the flea also produces an irritant for many dogs and cats.
  2. Flea Dirt – the “flea dirt” that fleas leave behind will almost look like black pepper and can be seen when you part the hair.
  3. Chewing Around the Tail or Hind Legs – this a common spot where fleas like to hang out so your dog or cat may be trying to bite themselves if they have fleas
  4. Visible Insects – Although tiny, fleas are a dark reddish-brown colour can be visible on lighter colour coats, particularly if your dog or cat has a lot of fleas.
  5. Patchy Hair Loss particularly around the back of the neck or the tail
  6. Lethargy and loss of energy, especially in cases of extreme infestation

Where to Look for Fleas on Your Pet

If you think your pet might have fleas, the top places to check are:

  1. Around the tail
  2. The neck and the collar
  3. Around the groin and belly area
  4. The back of the rear legs

Where to Look for Fleas in Your Home

If you suspect that your pet has fleas, it’s really important that you also check around your home and the places that your dog or cat hang out. The top places to make sure you look are:

  • When your pet sleeps
  • The carpet in your home
  • In your pet’s favourite chair
  • On your other pets

When checking your home for signs of fleas, you may also find eggs, which are tiny white oval shapes, or larvae – small worm-like larvae with brown heads.

How to Get Rid of Fleas

If your pet has a bad infestation of fleas, making a appointment to visit your vet is recommended, however, thankfully, in most cases, getting rid of fleas is reasonably straightforward – although it will take a little work.

  1. Treat your dog with a spot-on treatment, like Fleaway that will kill the fleas
  2. Using a flea comb to brush through the coat to remove dead fleas, larvae and eggs
  3. Bathing your dog in a skin soothing shampoo, such as one containing tea-tree oil can soothe the skin and promote healing
  4. Treat your home to kill any fleas, eggs or larvae that may be present. Wash, or potentially replace, your pet’s bedding. Vaccuming all carpets, furniture and soft furnishings where you pet has been sitting or sleeping is also really important.

Preventing Your Pet from Getting Fleas

The simplest way to protect your dog or cat from getting fleas is to use a regular preventative treatment which can be applied to your pet’s coat once a month.  There are range of options available and our team in-store are available to help you to find the one that is most suitable to your pet’s needs.

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