Dog Care

6 Signs That Your Dog Has Fleas

Author: Serena Law

Wondering how to tell if your dog has fleas? You’re not the only one. This is a common question amongst dog owners, one that is asked at least once in their lives. If a dog has been exploring outdoors or spent time with other furry friends and now itches more than before, this is a likely sign of fleas.

But before heading out and looking for a flea treatment, here are 6 quick signs to find out if your dog has fleas.

1. Examine Your Dog’s Fur and Skin

Picture of a dog.

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This is the first and easiest thing you can do to check if your dog has fleas. Simply part your dog’s fur to expose the skin. If fleas are present, the skin may have a red and bumpy appearance. You may also catch fleas running to hide. They look like tiny, dark, flat, oval, speedy insects.

TIP:Two areas you want to check first are around the ears and near the rear. Fleas particularly enjoy hanging out in these areas!

2. Presence of Flea Feces

Flea feces (yuck!) is also known as flea dirt. It resembles small specks of pepper.

One way to clearly see if your dog has flea feces in their fur is by placing damp paper towels on the floor. Brush the fur to free any flea feces that may be hidden.

If you can see a small red circle around the black specks on the paper towels, these are flea feces.

3. Use a Flea Comb

The teeth of flea combs are designed to be very small and close together, allowing unwanted fleas to be caught. These can be very useful for removing fleas and their eggs from a dog’s coat, without causing any harm.

Carefully work through your dog’s fur, making sure the comb touches the skin through the coat. Inspect the comb for fleas, feces and eggs.

TIP:Whether your dog has fleas or not, it is helpful to invest in a flea comb to prevent flea infestations and matting.

4. Squish A Flea!

If you can manage to capture one of these pests buried in your dog’s coat, try to squish it between your fingertips.

Fleas have a hard outer shell that is difficult to squash. So if it can be squished easily, it is unlikely to be a flea. Hurrah!

5. Bath Time

Picture of a dog in the bath.

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Plug the drain and give your dog a bath. If your dog has fleas, they will be exposed in the water.

NOTE:If you notice little spots of blood in the water, which will be more evident when you drain the water, do not be alarmed. These are actually flea feces that have fallen off your dog’s fur and dissolved in the water.

6. Flea Trap

Creating a home-made flea trap is easy. As fleas are attracted to light, we can use this to our advantage. Simply fill a small container of soapy water and place this on the floor next to a light source such as a candle, bedside lamp or electric bulb.

Fleas will attempt to jump toward the light but will end up falling in the bowl. If fleas are caught, this shows evidence that there are fleas in the home. If fleas are in the home, they are most certainly also on your dog.

Final Thoughts

Picture of a dog in a blanket.

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We hope this article has helped determine whether your dog is suffering from fleas, so you can take the appropriate action to make your dog happy again.

If your dog does has fleas, then don’t worry. There are plenty of treatments available to help get rid of those troublesome pests. In fact, using a flea shampoo is one of the most easy and simple ways to eliminate fleas. Take the next steps by checking out our useful guide on finding the best dog flea shampoo.