Signs of warmer weather mean flea and tick season is close at hand. Each pest poses its own set of problems for your dog, so you’ll want to keep an eye out for any signs of an infestation on your dog. These are five signs your dog might have fleas:
1. Flea Droppings or Eggs
The presence of flea droppings, also called “flea dirt”, or flea eggs is a telltale sign your dog probably has fleas. There is always a chance that their presence is leftover from a previous infestation, but this is often not the case. Droppings or eggs found in your dog’s coat or in places your dog usually hangs out around the house indicate the presence of fleas.
2. Excessive Licking, Biting, or Scratching of the Skin
Fleas, their eggs, and their bites are huge irritants to your dog’s skin. One of the most common signs your dog might have fleas is excessive attempts to get rid of the itch. This often takes the form of excessive licking, biting, or scratching at the skin. In addition to general skin irritation, these actions can also cause bald spots or areas of hair loss.
3. Redness, Bleeding, or Scabs on the Skin
Redness, bleeding, or scabs on the skin can be another set of signs your dog might have fleas. They are generally caused by your dog’s nails or teeth as they scratch and bite, further irritating or breaking the skin. However, they can also be caused by flea bites, which irritate the skin and can cause redness, bleeding, or scabs, especially in sensitive areas like inside the ears. If your dog has an allergic reaction to fleas, these will likely be worse and can often lead to skin infections.
4. Pale Gums
In addition to being a huge annoyance and source of discomfort, fleas are also tiny bloodsuckers. Though they are very small, they can consume 15 times their body weight in blood. This can cause a significant amount of blood loss over time and even result in anemia. If you notice your dog has pale gums, blood loss caused by fleas could be the culprit.
If you notice signs of tapeworms in your dog’s excrement, on their backside, or on their bedding, it’s possible fleas are present and at fault. There are several species of tapeworm, but the most common type is caused when your dog ingested an infected flea. A flea can be a carrier for a tapeworm’s larvae and if your dog happens to swallow one, they will likely end up with tapeworms. So, if your dog has tapeworms, they could have fleas too. Thankfully, tapeworms are easily treated with a recommended treatment from a vet.
Fleas are not a good time for anyone, especially your dog. If you see these signs of fleas in your pup, they’ll need you to step in and help to get rid of them.