How to tell if your dog has fleas?

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 09: A dog wears a blue and beige Dior Oblique Jacquard pullover, on March 09, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 09: A dog wears a blue and beige Dior Oblique Jacquard pullover, on March 09, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images) /

When it comes to our dogs, we are always on the lookout for anything that might be causing them distress. And fleas are definitely at the top of the distress list, or at least at the top of the list for things we are on the lookout for when it comes to our pup’s comfort.

Having dogs means having to deal with everything from dog hair everywhere to the possibility of ticks and fleas hitching a ride with our furry friends. And no matter how clean you think your pup is, there are no guarantees that fleas haven’t found a way to infiltrate your home to cause issues for your pup.

As the fine bloggers over at Be Chewy pointed out,

"Even if you don’t see any fleas or flea symptoms in dogs, don’t assume there are none in your home. Fleas go through four stages in their life cycle—egg, larva, pupa and adult. Even if you see no adult fleas on your dog’s body, there still could be fleas in the three other developmental life stages in your furniture, carpet, or baseboards that are just days or weeks away from turning into adults and invading your dog."

Ways to tell if there are fleas in your dog’s life

So how exactly can we tell if your pup is dealing with these icky pests? Here are some things to be on the lookout for.

  • Grooming more than normal – While our dogs might groom themselves on the regular, if you notice your pup excessively grooming themselves, there may be a problem. In fact, if you notice your dog licking and even chewing at their skin so much that they are potentially losing hair and leaving bald spots, you may want to check your pup for fleas.
  • Excessive scratching and chewing – Because fleas bite, if your dog is dealing with these bugs you may notice them chewing and scratching to get them off their skin. The chewing is also a way to try to get the itch left behind from the bite. The uncomfortableness of the biting will leave your dog trying to ease the suffering with an excessive amount of scratching. (And as someone who has unfortunately had to deal with a dog with fleas, the amount of biting and scratching will even leave you stressed out.)
  • Restlessness – While the excessive scratching might come across as a form of restlessness, you may also notice your dog acting out and unable to relax, nap, or even just sit still. Your pup may be overly agitated and searching for some form of relief that never seems to come.
  • You’ll actually see tiny red or black specks in their fur and on their skin – When your dog has fleas, depending on the color of their fur, you will actually see them on their skin and fur. And yes, they actually do show up as tiny specks that can be seen without any additional help (no magnifying glass needed).
  • Dark spots on the bedding – If you notice small specks, red spots, or even what looks like excessive dirt marks on your dogs bed or bedding, you are most likely noticing what is basically “flea dirt.” It may be black or red and it is a good indication of fleas.

Honestly, whenever we take our pup to a dog park or even for a walk in the woods, we are checking to make sure that our pups haven’t picked up anything extra (and unwanted). And yes, that also means checking multiple times in the week after these adventures.

There is nothing worse than trying to combat fleas both on your pet and in your home and that’s why we are always on the lookout for these little pests.

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Have you had to deal with fleas with your dog? What were the signs you noticed when you had to deal with these critters? What did you do to get rid of them? Let us know below.