Fleas on Dogs: FAQs and Everything You Ever Wanted to Know

Your dog’s been scratching and miserable a lot lately. And you know fleas on dogs are a common occurrence but what you’re not so sure of is, well, everything else about fleas. What do fleas look like? What impact do they have on your beloved canine? OMG, can fleas kill a dog?

Don’t worry. Most of us start out exactly the same way – our pet gets fleas, we freak out and then search the Internet for everything we need to know about these nasty blood suckers.

To save you some time, we’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about fleas on dogs – it’s a quick read and you’ll emerge a flea expert equipped to wipe out even the worst infestations!

Can Humans Get Fleas From Dogs?

When you’re dealing with fleas on dogs, you’re going to be getting pretty up close and personal in your battle to eliminate them. Which naturally leads to a very common question…”Can you get fleas from your dog?”

Well, yes and no. Here’s what we mean: it’s not common for fleas to live on humans. For starters, we don’t have much hair on our bodies for them to live in and out of the 2,000 species of fleas out there, only one lives on the blood of humans.

In general, fleas prefer to live on fur-laden pets…the downside is that if something happens to their pet hosts, they may move on to the next best thing – you.

In addition, just because fleas don’t typically live on humans, it doesn’t mean they don’t bite humans. So yes and no – you probably won’t “get” fleas from your dog but flea bites can happen to both of you.

Can Fleas Kill a Dog?

It’s not just the constant itching that flea bites cause – if left untreated, fleas are capable of reproducing and multiplying rapidly and the more fleas there are, the more blood your dog is losing. Think of it this way: an adult female flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day. And the more fleas that live on our dog, the more blood they suck – a female flea consumed up to 15 times her own body weight in blood daily!

The loss of blood can cause severe anemia and it can even be life-threatening, especially if your canine is still a puppy, an older dog or has a weak immune system.

The good news is that for young, healthy dogs – a flea infestation most likely won’t result in death. The bad news? Fleas are still harmful in a number of ways…

What Do Fleas Do to Dogs?

Fleas live on dogs and use them as a constant food supply. In the process, they cause extremely itchy flea bites – but that’s not all. Fleas are the number one cause of skin disease in pets, which can cause a wide array of problems from simple itchiness to weeping sores.

To top it all off, fleas can transmit tapeworm to dogs and cats and if your pet is allergic to flea bites – well, just one bite can set off terrible reactions.

So it’s really best to nip this problem in the bud before a flea infestation escalates.

How Do Dogs Get Fleas?

There are a number of ways your dog can get fleas. The good news is that they’re mostly preventable so once you know the most common ways dogs pick up fleas, you can do your part to reduce his chances of coming into contact with them.

So how do dogs get fleas? Let us count the ways…

  • From other animals. Fleas that live on other animals like squirrels, raccoons, rodents and feral cats can easily jump onto your dog – remember, fleas are the Olympic jumpers of the insect world and can fling themselves around 100 times their own height and length!
  • From your very own backyard. Fleas like to live in moist, shady, cool places – the same places that your pet and other animals may like to hang out in. If there is wildlife that wanders into your yard to hang out, they can bring fleas with them and transfer them into these places, making it easy for your dog to pick them up next time he wanders over. To prevent this, do everything you can to get rid of fleas in the yard, especially if it’s a common hangout spot for your dog.
  • From places your dog goes. The uncomfortable truth is that every time your dog ventures out into the world – he can pick up fleas. This includes short walks around the block, the local dog run, a short stay at a boarding kennel and even a visit to the vet!

Have any of the above situations happened to your dog lately? And has he been scratching and looking irritable lately? Well, there’s a good chance he has fleas. But you won’t know for sure until you’ve done an inspection. Find out here exactly how to tell if your dog has fleas!

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