What Do I Do When I See a Flea on My Dog?

This post may contain affiliate links. It doesn't cost you anything extra and it keeps our lights on, our families fed, and our dogs spoiled. For all the juicy fine print, see our affiliate disclosure

It starts with a scratch.

You saw your dog scratching and thought nothing of it.

But a day later, you realize that your dog has been doing nothing but scratching himself all day.

Well, it’s time you check your dog’s fur with a flea comb. When you do, you see a small flea trying to hide itself in your dog’s fur.

Should you be worried?

Yes.

Should you panic?

No.

Instead, you should take some actions to stop a potential infestation and put a halt to an infestation if it’s already here.

Keep scrolling to know the ins and outs of fleas and how to get rid of them.

I Found a Flea on My Dog, Now What?

Found flea on dog next steps control prevent infestation

If you have found a flea on your dog and you are wondering what to do next, then the obvious answer is to stop an infestation by taking some serious actions.

Where Do Fleas Come From?

Fleas can come to your home or your dog’s from anywhere.

For example, they can come to a home from a pet owners’ pant leg or can cling to your dog’s body when they are out playing with other dogs.

Is Your Dog Driving You Nuts During the Day?

Indoor Activities for Dogs

Get Our List of 11 Awesome Indoor Activities to Keep Your Dog Busy and Out of Trouble!

How Do Flea Infestations start?

Usually, all fleas, be it adult fleas or otherwise, will start feeding as soon as they latch onto a host.

They can breed in just 24 hours and can lay around 50 eggs in a day1.

So, in addition to sticking around on the host and the pets, they can also find a home anywhere your pet spends time, like furniture, bedding, and carpets.

What Do Fleas Look Like?

Fleas are brown or black. Adult fleas are 1/8th inch in size.

Usually, they live for up to 21 days, but they might live for more than 14 weeks if they are on a host.

They can also consume up to 15 times of their body weight of your dog’s blood and can also be a host for other pesky little creatures like tapeworms2.

Reasons to Avoid Flea Infestation

Bites from an adult flea can cause irritation, or swelling, or even flea allergy dermatitis on your dog’s skin.

Fleas can also spread viruses and bacteria.

If accidentally swallowed by your dog or cat, it can also lead to a severe infection in a dog or cat.

Flea Season

Though fleas are usually active during summer or the later half of spring, they can cause an infestation at home during any time of the year.

They can be most commonly found in areas that are experiencing the rainy season or too much humidity.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

Flea allergy dermatitis, also known as FAD, is an allergic condition that is commonly found in dogs3.

The symptoms of FAD usually develop between 1-3 years of a pet’s age. The allergic reaction usually happens due to the saliva of an adult flea.

When it happens, your dog might spend a lot of time scratching the skin to calm and itch. Your dog might also develop a skin infection.

Some of the signs of FAD are scabs, red skin, scaling, red bumps, or missing fur.

How to Remove Fleas from Your Home

How to remove fleas from home yard pet kennel

If you spot flea’s on the pet’s fur, you need to start the dog on a monthly flea control program.

Let it run for a few months before judging whether it’s working or not. At least three months are needed before you judge its effectiveness.

The next step is to start vacuuming the floors, furniture, carpets, and other points where fleas or flea eggs are found.

To get rid of fleas, you need to reach hard-to-reach areas like under the furniture, as that’s where fleas often hide.

If you can’t reach the hard-to-reach place, you need to choose exterminators to lend you a hand and kill adult fleas as well as their eggs.

Have two sessions with an exterminator to ensure that you kill fleas effectively.

If you can’t hire a professional exterminator, you can use an insecticide such as Vet’s Best Flea + Tick Spray to kill fleas or shorten the flea life cycle.

Read all the instructions, use insecticides in limited quantities and ensure that your pets are not near when you opt for this treatment.

Some other options for controlling fleas inside a home are washing all bedding, steam cleaning all carpets, using foggers or an insect growth regulator.

If you have small kids at home, you can choose boric-acid-based products are they are a safer option and leave no chemical residues.

How to Do Outdoor Flea Control?

If you are looking for outdoor flea control, you need to invest in insecticides that you can use after cleaning the dog kennel or house.

Choose products that last longer, even in sunlight.

Don’t use products that are banned by the EPA. It is also wise to pick non-toxic options that are ideal for open areas with vegetable growth or kids in the vicinity.

If you are concerned that a product that kills adult fleas might also harm your dog, you need to talk with a veterinarian regarding which products are the best and safest.

They will give you the best advice on the latest products that can help treat fleas, control fleas and eliminate them from the indoor and outdoor environment.

Final Words

If you have seen a flea on your dog or your dog is irritated due to flea bites, you need to try and not panic.

Instead, you should find out the source, treat your dog and take steps to eliminate the fleas from the indoor and outdoor environment.

Flea control products such as chewable tablets and topical liquids can help you control an infestation on your dog but won’t be effective unless you put in the work to treat your home, your dog’s bed, and your yard.

FAQs

What Kills Fleas on Dogs Instantly?

You can try flea shampoos such as Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiparasitic Shampoo and other such products after consulting with a veterinarian.

Does One Flea Mean an Infestation?

One flea doesn’t always mean an infestation, but it can lead to one if you don’t take action instantly.

Is It Possible to Just Have One Flea?

Yes, it is possible to have just one flea.But you need to ensure that you get rid of it quickly before infestation starts.

What Do I Do If I Find a Flea?

You need to initiate flea control immediately and eliminate the parasites from your dog’s indoor and outdoor environments.

Resources

  1. https://www.petmd.com/dog/parasites/evr_multi_understanding_the_flea_life_cycle
  2. https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/fleas-and-ticks
  3. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/allergy-flea-allergy-dermatitis-in-dogs

Still Have Questions?
Ask a Vet!

Eliminate Bad Dog Breath Without Brushing

Fresh Breathies