How Do Dogs Get Fleas

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We all know the risks and headaches caused by flea infestations, but how many of us know how these little buggers find our furry friends.

Understanding how and where your dog can pick up fleas can help you put preventative measures in place to reduce the chances your dog will pick up these parasites.

Where Do Dogs Get Fleas?

Dog scratching himself behind his ear


Fleas thrive in humid, damp, and dark areas, such as woodpiles. However, they can also live in tall grass, weeds, and under shrubbery.

Also, you won’t want to leave mulch or leaf piles around either since both make excellent homes for fleas.

Another outdoor haven for fleas is in a dog house. Dog houses provide all the comforts any flea could hope for, including regular meals.

How to Prevent Fleas from Outside

Though it is impossible to get rid of all of the fleas from our yards, there are a couple of things we can do to make things less hospitable for them.

For example, avoid leaving piles of brush or yard waste on your property. Also, do your best to keep your grass cut short to make things less welcoming. 

Another thing you can do to reduce your dog’s chance of picking up fleas outside is to ensure that your dog’s house is kept clean and dry. It is best to wash your dog’s bedding and linens weekly to help lessen the risk of fleas. 

Additionally, you may want to use some essential oils on your dog’s bedding to deter fleas from nesting in your dog’s linens.

However, it is vital that you use caution not to overuse essential oils since the smell can be overwhelming to your dog’s sense of smell.

Also, using a yard treatment like Vet’s + Best, Wondercide, or Adams to treat your yard. And many yard treatments also aid in eliminating other insects like mosquitos and ticks.  

Related: Found a Flea on Your Dog? Here’s What to Do

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Other Animals 

When dogs come in contact with other animals, including both domestic and wild, they are at risk of picking up fleas. Fleas will frequently jump from one host to the next, which is a common way for dogs to bring home fleas.

My dogs are hunting dogs, which puts them at a higher risk of getting fleas since they tend to get even greater exposure to wild animals in our area.

Some of the critters in our yard that are common carriers of fleas include squirrels, rabbits, birds, rodents. 

And if your dog interacts with other dogs, such as at dog parks or if you have friends and family’s dogs come to visit, those dogs can also carry fleas.

Furthermore, if you happen to have an outdoor cat, they are a high-risk carrier too. 

How to Prevent Fleas from Other Animals 

One of the best ways to avoid fleas from other domestic animals is to ask people before bringing their pets to your home if they are using flea prevention on their dogs.

It is also vital you are using a type of flea preventative, whether it’s a topical like frontline plus, a flea collar like Seresto, or oral medication like Bravecto

As for wild animals, you can do a few things to help reduce the chances of them bringing fleas into your yard.

First, avoid leaving things out that will bring wild animals in, such as bowls of food and water. Also, remove bird feeders from the areas of the yard that your dog frequents.  

Another thing you can do is plant flowers and herbs that deter small critters and fleas. For example, using marigolds, geraniums, daffodils, and astilbe to keep critters out of the yard will help reduce traffic from wild animals.   

And mint, sage, rosemary, lavender, rosemary, and chamomile all help to deter fleas. 

Three cute puppies locked in the cage

Pet Facilities

Pet facilities are another high-risk area that your dog could pick up fleas. Some of these facilities include pet stores, vet offices, training centers, groomers, and dog daycares. 

Because dogs highly frequent these areas, it is almost impossible to eradicate fleas from these locations. However, that does not mean that you want to avoid going to one of these locations, especially the vet office. 

How to Prevent Fleas from Pet Facilities 

One of the best things you can do to prevent your dog from getting fleas from pet facilities is to talk to the management running those businesses to find out what protocols they use to reduce the chances of fleas being passed on to other dogs.

If they are unable to answer your questions, it might be best to find a different facility. 

Since going to pet facilities is something we don’t want to avoid yet have little control over its flea prevention methods, using personal flea protection on our dogs is ideal to avoid dealing with picking up fleas from these places.

Another proactive measure we can take as dog parents is to check for fleas after visiting a pet facility to ensure we don’t have any unwanted stowaways.

Your Home 

Many of us don’t know that our home is an excellent haven for fleas, especially in darker, warmer areas.

Some of the top hiding spots for fleas in our home include the creases around baseboards, carpets, dog beds, and fabric upholstery.  

For those who have had fleas in their home, it is essential to keep in mind that it can be months before the pupae or eggs develop.

And unless we are diligent about regular cleaning and prevention, it is pretty common to experience a reinfestation. 

How to Prevent Fleas at Home 

Keeping fleas out of our homes can be easy if we take the proper precautions.

Some of the things you can do to ensure fleas stay out of your home include a regular vacuuming routine with particular attention to creases and cracks, weekly washing of your dog’s bedding, and steam cleaning.

Additionally, using essential oils in your home can also be an excellent way to keep your home smelling great and repel fleas.

To learn more about using essential oils to combat flea infestations click here


Knowing where your dog can pick up fleas and how to prevent them is one of the best ways to be proactive at keeping fleas off your dog and out of your home. 

However, the number one way to avoid dealing with fleas is to ensure you are using a reliable flea preventative treatment.

Not all flea treatments require a prescription; many are available over the counter at your local pet supply store or online. Plus, proactive prevention is far more economical than reactive treatments. 


Why does my dog keep getting fleas?

Often people experience flea reinfestations because they forget to treat their home and yard or stop treatment of their home and yard too early.

How do indoor dogs get fleas?

Even if your dog lives indoors who are still very susceptible to contracting fleas from going on walks, going to the vet, playing in the yard, and from other animals.

Can dogs get fleas from grass?

Yes, dogs can get fleas from spending time in the grass, especially if the grass is on the longer side.


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