Signs A Pet Has Fleas And How To Get Rid Of Them

By Jack Clark 2 months ago

Signs Your Pet Has Fleas



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Most of us have owned a pet at some point in our lives, and it's super fun once you've got them trained well. A dog can literally become a part of your family and you feel lost without them. It's important that we keep them well-groomed and looked after, and a big part of that is regularly checking them to make sure that they don't have fleas. Here are some telltale signs!

Scratching, Biting Or Licking



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It is no secret that our pets tend to scratch, bite and lick ALL the time. Not just themselves either; play-biting and licking our faces are all part of the fun of owning a pet (especially dogs). However, you need to keep an eye on your pet if they seem to be excessively scratching, biting or licking themselves, especially if it is way more than they normally do.

Red Or Irritated Skin



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Pets with fleas will display a number of symptoms that should alert you to their condition, and one of the biggest indicators is red or irritated skin. Fleas will bite your pet, which leads to reddening of their skin - this is often amplified by your pet's incessant itching of the affected area. If you can see that their skin is red or highly irritated, it is often a tell-tale sign that they're infested with fleas.

Presence Of Small Black Dots



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Okay, this one is pretty gross, but as a pet owner it is imperative to know this. Nature calls, even for tiny, invasive insects that latch on to your pet's fur. If your pet has fleas, you might start to notice really small black dots littered over their fur and deep into their skin. This is a sign of flea faeces. Yep, told you it was gross. If you spot these small black dots on your pets fur then give your pet a once over.

Visible Fleas On Your Pets Fur



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Okay, this is probably the most obvious sign that your pet has fleas, right? But not everyone has seen a flea before, and not everyone thinks to check their pets for them. Fleas are small, bug-like creatures and, if your pet has them, a quick scan of their fur will reveal them pretty quickly. If you spot these pesky critters, it's time to break up the bug party and bounce the fleas right out of your pet's fur.

Tiny White Eggs Attached To Your Pets Fur



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If you stumble upon tiny white eggs that resemble mini pearls glued to your pet's fur, you've won the flea lottery! Probably not the lottery that you wanted to win, but one that you now have to deal with. They may seem innocent enough upon first inspection, but don't be fooled! Flea eggs is a sign that they're rapidly multiplying and, before you know it, the fleas will literally be all over your house.

Fur Loss



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For those of us with dogs, we all know how much fur comes off of them. Even short-haired hounds will malt until their little hearts are content, leaving balls of fur all over the house floor. Malting is totally normal for your precious pooch, but excessive fur loss is definitely out of the ordinary. Our not-so-friendly insects can literally cause our pets fur to disappear.

Restlessness Or Difficulty Sleeping



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Pets sleep a lot. Like, sometime all day if they've been sufficiently exercised and had their energy played out of them. There's nothing more peaceful than a sleeping dog dreaming of chasing rabbits and eating bones. So, you'll know that if your pet isn't sleeping all too well, then something has got to be up. If your adorable puppy is struggling to sleep, it could be fleas that are deliberately keeping them awake.

Pale Gums



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Every pet owner should regularly check the dental health of their pet to make sure there is nothing wrong or anything needing immediate medical attention. There are lots of things you should be checking for, but if you spot that your pets gums have gone pale, it may be time go get out the flea repellent. If your pet has pale gums, it is a sure sign that it is suffering from anemia and needs medical attention ASAP.

Scabs On Skin



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Another easy way to tell if your pet has fleas is if their skin is full of scabs. Flea bites lead to irritation, and can often scab over, especially if your pet has been aggressively scratching them to relieve the flea-inflicted itch. Frustratingly, scabs eventually itch, which makes your pet scratch it and reopen the scabbed area, which in turn scabs over and then itches again. It's one long vicious cycle - poor old puppies.

Small Red Bumps On Skin



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Fleas love to leave their horrible mark, and those itchy red bumps all over your pets skin is a tell-tale sign that fleas have taken up residence in your pets fur. The best thing to do is groom your dog as much as you can, and regularly check them for fleas. A regular check-up means that you can catch the fleas before they become a big problem and cause irritation to your pet.

Flea Dirt In Your Pet's Bed



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An uptick in behaviours such as scratching and biting could signal a potential flea infestation. So, if you notice your beloved pet showing excessive discomfort, it's time to inspect their bed for tiny dark specks, commonly known as flea dirt. Swift action can spare our dear pets from the irksome parasites and ensure their continued joyous companionship.

Excessive Grooming Behaviour



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Our beloved pets find solace in grooming, a ritual that keeps them looking dapper and feeling fresh. However, when our furry friends engage in relentless and obsessive grooming, you must pay closer attention. Unusual and repetitive licking, biting or fur-chewing may indicate an underlying issue like stress or skin irritation - symptoms often found alongside a flea infestation.

Your Pet's Fur Suddenly Smells Bad



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For those of us seasoned dog Mom's and Dad's, we know that our furry companions aren't always the epitome of freshness. Yet, there is a noticeable difference between the occasional wet dog smell and a sudden, overpowering stench wafting up from their fur. If your furry friend's fur takes an abrupt, malodorous turn, it might be an indication of fleas.

Irritated Eyes



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We're well attuned to our furry friends' cues, especially when it comes to their health and well-being. In particular, our pet's eyes offer a window into their current state of health. When those adoring eyes appear red and watery, it's a signal that something isn't right. Whatever is causing the irritation, it is always worth checking for fleas.

Increased Aggression



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One concerning change is when our dear pets display increased aggression. While occasional barks or growls are natural, a significant increase in aggressive behavior warrants our full attention. As responsible pet parents, we must delve into the underlying causes, which could range from medical issues to emotional distress - a sure sign that fleas are around.

Visible Redness In Your Pet's Ears



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When it comes to our pet's health, we notice even slight changes in our dogs behavior. Redness in their ears can indicate infections, allergies, or even fleas. Timely attention and a visit to the vets can help diagnose and treat the underlying issue, ensuring our furry friends remain furry, friendly, healthy and, most importantly, free from the distress of fleas.

Difficulty Settling Down



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When our pets exhibit difficulty settling down, it definitely gives us pause. We understand the importance of a calm and contented pet and, if you notice your previously chilled-out pet pacing restlessly and unable to find comfort, it could be a sign of a flea infestation. Whether it is physical discomfort, anxiety of restlessness, it's essential check for fleas.

No Appetite



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There is something almost therapeutic about watching our furry friends devour their food without a care in the world. However, if you notice your pet turning its nose up at its favorite meal, then something could be seriously wrong. Illness, dental problems or emotional distress could be the culprits of a waning appetite, but a flea infestation could easily be the cause.

Weight Loss



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If you've noticed your cuddly pal shedding some extra pounds unexpectedly, don't just brush it off as a new fitness routine! Weight loss in our pets can sometimes be a sneaky sign of a potential flea infestation. Those pesky critters can make your fur baby feel itchy and uncomfortable, leading to a decreased appetite. Don't let those fleas steal your pet's joy (or curves)!

Patches Of Fur Missing



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If you've spotted random patches of fur missing on your lovable companion, it's time unleash your inner Ace Ventura. Fleas can be sneaky, and they make their way into your pet's life and leave behind itchy bite marks. Sometimes our furry buddies might try to alleviate the irritation by scratching and nibbling their skin, shedding away their fur.

Frequent Head Shaking



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If your pet has started head banging as if they're at a Foo Fighters concert, it's probably time to check them for fleas. Fleas will leave your pet irritated and uncomfortable, and the only defence they have is shaking their head over and over again to try and get rid of their unwanted guests. If all you can ear is your pet's ears slapping against their head, it's time to check for fleas.

Scabs And Hot Spots



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If you've noticed your furry friend scratching and gnawing at specific spots, it's time to play the role of pet detective again. Fleas can be relentless, leaving behind bites, which lead to irritated skin, which lead to scabs and hot spots. These not-so-hot spots are a sure sign that your pet is battling against fleas, and they've definitely thank you for exterminating those unwanted critters.

Unhealthy Looking Coat



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We all know a luscious coat is a must for our four-legged friends, but sometimes those fleas can be real party crashers. If your pets once glossy and fabulous fur is looking a little dull, it could be a sign of fleas. Fleas can cause your pets fur to lose its natural shine. With a little bit of TLC and some flea-destroying tactics, your fur baby's coat will be back to normal in no time.

Flea Larvae In Your House



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We all enjoy having guests over to our house, but there's one group that isn't welcome - flea larvae! When you have a flea infestation, they leave their offspring all over your carpets and furniture to make sure that they survive. At this point, you not only have to treat your pet for fleas, but you also have to treat your vacuum cleaner with flea repellent to make sure that your house is flea-free.

Dark Specks On Pet's Skin



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Fleas leave behind tiny droppings that look like dark specks, and they tend to leave a trail of them all over your beloved pet's skin. These dark specks are more commonly known as 'flea dirt' - a slightly more tasteful name for flea droppings. Gross. However, whilst fleas can be pretty good at hiding themselves, nature calls even for fleas!

Doesn't Like Being Petted



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We all love giving our furry friends love and affection throughout the day, but what happens when they start swerving your affectionate advances? Don't take it personally, the most likely reason is that fleas are terrorizing your poor pet. Imagine having tiny insects crawl all over you and bite your skin - you probably wouldn't want to be petted either!

Runny Nose



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If your pet pal has a runny nose, it might not just be a doggy-cold that is causing it. Fleas can trigger allergies in our pets, and a runny nose is a sure sign that your pet is flea-riddled. Keep an eye on your dogs sniffly nose; if it doesn't go away after a couple of days, it is worth giving them the once over to make sure they're not hosting a flea party.

Inflamed Areas On Skin



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If you notice that your pet has some inflamed areas of their skin, it could be a case of fleas. They cause irritating red spots of inflammation all over your pets skin and it can be almost unbearable for them. The second we feel an itch, we immediately apply some soothing creams to help mitigate the itching, and there should be no exception for our pets.

Visible Signs Of Flea Bites



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If you spot tiny, red welts on your furry friends skin, it's probably a pretty clear sign that fleas has invaded your pet's fur. Flea bites are the most irritating thing your pet can experience, causing itchiness and discomfort, and it is worth keeping an eye on any out-of-the-ordinary marks you find on your pet's skin. If you find them, it is time to bust out the anti-flea treatment!

Signs your dog has a tick and what to do



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Along with fleas, ticks are another thing you have to deal with and prevent when it comes to your pets. You can usually get pet treatment which prevents fleas and ticks in one (like over the counter treatment or from your vet) but when it comes to what they are, and what signs to watch out for, fleas and ticks can be a different experience! It can also be much harder to spot a lone tick.

What does a tick look like?



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Fleas look different to ticks, but if they're very small and you can't get a close enough look yourself, it might be hard for you to distinguish! The main things to look out for with tick appearance is change in size, because ticks become larger when they feed. They might start off the size of a small seed and then become 'engorged', which could be about the size of your fingernail. They're usually grey or brown, but it can vary.

The different types of ticks you need to know



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As well as changing in appearance, ticks can come in all different types, and especially in different parts of the world. It's really important to know what type of tick you might be dealing with, because each will mean different symptoms as well as different levels of threat to your pet. If you can't identify yourself, this is why it's so important to consult your vet to find out what you're dealing with!

Common ticks



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The ticks most likely found on pets will vary from country to country, but there's usually a 'common' type of tick that will latch onto pets, and these are the ones that are usually grey or brown in color. For the most part, these ticks might feed and then drop off without causing any harm to your pet, but it's important to try and remove or get treatment if one is attached.

Paralysis ticks



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In some parts of the world, you may also have to deal with paralysis ticks. These ticks are considered one of the most dangerous to watch out for because - as the name suggests - these can cause paralysis in your dog or cat. They do this by releasing a toxin which then causes tick paralysis once they have latched on, which is why it's so important to act quickly with one of these!

Brown dog ticks



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In some parts of the world like Australia, these brown ticks can be found quite often, and although they don't cause as big a threat as paralysis, they can cause a lot of irritation and may also transmit infections from one pet to another if they unlatch themselves and move on! It may also be potentially fatal if these infections are passed on, or a lot of brown dog ticks at once may result in excess blood loss.

How do ticks manage to get onto your dog?



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The most common way that ticks find their way to your pet is during walks outdoors. All that time your dog is roaming around in long grass or walking around, they're exposed to the potential of ticks. Ticks are very sensitive to heat, which means they'll be able to detect when a heat source is sniffing nearby - like your pooch! The tick will grab onto your dog's body and then find the perfect spot to settle.

It helps to check them after every walk



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For this reason, it's a good idea to give your dog a pat down and a check after every single walk. You can do this by running your hands along their body as well as looking very closely at key areas, like behind their legs and close to their stomach, as well as their neck - any place that has the most heat and would be a good hiding place! If a tick has attached during the walk you've just been on, you'll now be able to hopefully find out!

You might see a red area



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One of the most common ways of identifying a tick, even if you cannot see or find the tick itself, is you might notice a red and sore-looking area on your dog's body. It's worth giving them a look over if they roll onto their back because you're more likely to see any irritated looking patches of skin on their underbody, which is where a tick is likely to be.

Your dog may be lethargic



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There are many reasons your dog might be acting more tired than usual when it comes to health problems, but this can be a sign of a tick bite. It might be that they're suddenly acting more tired and slow than usual, especially during times of peak exercise like their daily walk, so it's worth looking for a tick if you notice this change in behavior in your dog.

They might vomit



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In reaction to how a tick bite has made them feel, or how it's making them feel while attached to them, your dog might having some vomiting. This could be coupled with a change in appetite, most particularly a loss of appetite which can also come with feeling sick. They might not fully vomit, either, as they might instead make retching or coughing noises as a sign something doesn't feel comfortable!

They're unsteady on their feet



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This one can link to the certain ticks that can cause paralysis through their bite, as your dog may be in the first stage of losing feeling in their limbs. You might notice they're a little bit wobbly on their back legs, or maybe not even able to stand up. While still having some movement, this could be an early stage leading to paralysis, so don't ignore such a huge change in behavior like this!

Change in their vocal noises



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Every dog owner will know when something sounds different or off in their pet's vocal noises, and it might be that your dog is showing their discomfort at the irritation of the tick bite or it being embedded in their skin by whimpering, making heavy breathing noises, making sharp barks or just generally having a change of tone in the way they bark or talk to you.

It's unlikely you'll catch a tick from your dog



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The one thing to remember is that you don't need to avoid or be worried about being around your dog if they have a tick on them, as it's very unlikely a tick is going to get attached to you from the same walk outside, or just from you being close to your dog. Tick bites are possible, but it's unlikely they're going to unlatch from your dog and come to you instead!

The best way to check for ticks



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The best way to try and find a tick on your dog is using your bare fingertips, and it's going to take a little time and patience on both your and your dog's part! You should start at the very top of their head and place your fingers directly against their skin. Then move your fingers all over the body, including behind the ears and down to the toes. You should be able to feel a bump if there's a tick

The importance of doing this all the time



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It's actually a good idea to do this 'feel down' of your dog every day, regardless of whether you suspect ticks or not, because it's going to make it very easy to get to know your dog's skin. Your dog might have some harmless skin tags that feel like bumps, so if you feel them down regularly, you'll know straight away what's a normal bump or skin tag for them, and will more easily feel anything out of the ordinary.

How to remove a tick



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If you do find a tick, it's important to remove it as quickly as possible. In a lot of cases, pet owners can do this themselves at home without needing to make a vet appointment. In some cases ticks do drop off by themselves, but it's never worth the risk of waiting for that. You can buy special tick-removing tweezers, or if you have a normal set of tweezers, these will work just as well (provided you don't pluck your eyebrows afterwards, of course!

The right way to pull!



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When plucking away the tick and pulling it from your dog's skin, it's important not to grab the tick in the same way you would a hair sticking out of the body, where you pinch the end sticking out and pull. Instead, turn your tweezers lengthways against your dog's skin rather than sticking upwards. Grab the tick flatway along its head, closest to the skin, twist and pull that way. You can then keep the tick in a sealed container to show your vet.

Dealing with an engorged tick



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Sometimes you might be dealing with a larger tick that's engorged because it's been feeding on blood, and this can make it harder and more tricky to pluck - because you definitely don't want to be squeezing it, or grabbing the engorged body! Use the same method as above, making sure to use the tweezers lengthways across the head. Twist and pull in the same way.

How best to prevent ticks



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One of the best ways to prevent ticks - as well as fleas - is to use a regular guard treatment, and be sure never to miss a dose! You can use over the counter ones you trust and which are effective on your pet, or you can make a vet appointment for tick and flea treatment. Tick and flea treatment usually needs to be done every few months. You can also get flea and tick collars as well as liquid versions you apply to the skin.