We have all been there. That dreaded moment when we watch in horror as our four-legged friend begins to scratch intensively without any signs of stopping. Our hairs stand on end and sharp shivers fall down our spines and we gaze at our dogs in horror hoping it’s not the appearance of…fleas.
Despite monthly trips to the vets and all the botanicals we can imagine, there are occasions where the pesky parasites slip the net and rest upon the skin and fur of our canine companions ready to begin their feast upon both our dogs and us. However, with the majority of our dog’s itches and scratches pointing to other causes than feisty fleas, we wanted to provide some tips about how to spot fleas in your dog and catch them before they even begin.
Check their Skin
Just like us, our dogs need to scratch now and again. Like any irritation, your dog might bite and nibble at paws or their necks when problems such as flaky skin, grain intolerances or just a simple itch might be to blame. Excessive itching with skin sores on their bellies, groin, legs and tails are more than often a true indicator that your dog might have brought home a little more than just themselves on their recent trip in the great outdoors. These sores will often look like small pimples with raised centres where the skin has become irritated from the saliva of the fleas that our pets are adverse to.
A Comb a Day
Like headlice amongst humans, there is no better way to inspect for fleas than combing your pet’s fur. When looking for signs of fleas, we recommend placing a light or white coloured towel beneath your pet during grooming as it will help you spot any flea dirt (black-pepper looking matter that turns red when wet) which is a common sign of flea infestation. Simply comb your dog’s fur with a specialist flea comb (available at any pet retail store) and inspect for small, brown/black marked beings, similar to headlice.
Check your Environment
Adoring warm and comfortable environments, fleas often make themselves at home in your dog’s favourite places. Checking your dog’s bed, sitting areas and anywhere your dog spends long periods of time may also indicate whether fleas are present on your pets. Flea faeces (known as flea dirt) is a common sign that fleas have entered your home leaving speckles of black powder on clothing, furniture and your dog’s fur. Walking on and past your dog’s belongings with white socks may help show if fleas are present so intervention can be made to help get rid of those pesky parasites.
Regular flea treatments and parasite-preventing grooming products such as sprays and shampoos can help combat and eliminate fleas on your four-legged friend, but for when they lay in waiting, follow our top tips for making your pooch and home as flea free as possible.