Treating fleas in dogs

Dog in field

Fleas are more commonly thought of as a Summer problem. The truth is that these pesky parasites are an issue all year round.

This time of year can be particularly bad. Central heating is cranked up making flea pupae think its warm outside. They wriggle their way to the surface, hatch, jump on our pets and start feeding and breeding straight away.

Usually, the first sign your pet has fleas will be when they start to scratch. You may also notice hair loss, red and sore skin or a change in your pets’ demeanour. Fleas can quickly cause an infestation in your house. It doesn’t take long for a few fleas to become hundreds! Flea bites can be quite nasty for people too, they look like small lumps that are very itchy and can become more swollen and redder looking over time.

Itchy Dog

Fleas are tiny dark brown flightless insects that can jump very high and very quickly which is why they are not always noticed on your pet. If you suspect your pet may have fleas, you may see tiny black dots in their fur that look like grit or soil.

Taking a piece of damp cotton wool over this area will help you diagnose fleas on your pets. If the soil particles turn brown or red on the damp cotton wool then that is flea dirt. The presence of flea dirt will nearly always mean your pet has or has had fleas.   

Prevention is always better than cure so it is important to keep up a good preventative health care plan – this can come in various forms such as spot-on treatments, tablets, collars, powders, sprays and shampoos.

It is always best to speak to your vet to ensure your pet and your home are receiving the best possible care. If you know your pet or home had fleas last Summer then spray your home again just now using a good quality house spray – spray the whole house concentrating behind radiators, between floorboards, near skirting boards.

A good tip is to vacuum everywhere first. Flea eggs and pupae can live in the environment for months without hatching so doing this will prevent any residue from last year being an issue this year. If your pet does have fleas make sure you boil wash any bedding they are in contact with and make sure you treat all animals in the home.

Remember you can use our Vet Helpline service 24hrs a day 365 days a year for any questions you have about your pets health and wellbeing, just call us on 0330 332 410 or use our live chat service.

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