Is your dog scratching and itching himself more than usual? Most dogs will have a run in with fleas at least a couple of times in their life. All that playing around outside and with other dogs means your dog is likely to contract fleas at one point or another.
But how do you know if they've got them? Well, scratching, nibbling and licking are the most obvious signs. And as a dog parent, I'm afraid it's your responsibility to get into the nitty gritty by having a look for them.
So here are our 4 top tips to see if your dog definitely has fleas (and then we'll tell you what to do about it):
1. Give your pet’s fur a thorough inspection. Using your fingers, gently divide the fur, and you will see fleas running in the opposite direction trying hide. You can spot them by their dark brown color.
2. Give your dog a bath. Keep the drain clogged after and inspect the water closely. If there are little black spots in the water, it is likely that your dog has fleas.
3. Use a special dog flea comb to carefully go through your dogs coat. If you come across small critters that look brown, flat, and oval that move quickly, then your dog probably has fleas. Areas where they are most prevalent are usually the base of the ears and their backside.
4. Fleas leave behind their own mess, let's call it “flea dirt,” and it looks like little black flecks. If you find some, put it on a white tissue and wait—if it is indeed flea faeces, a small red dot or a “halo” will appear.
5. If you find a small flea, try and grab it and squish it between your fingertips. If the bug squishes easily, it’s likely not a flea as they are harder to squash.
What to do if your dog has fleas (in 4 easy steps)
1. Firstly, give your dog a bath using special flea shampoo. Your dog's skin is sensitive so make sure you buy the right one for their type of fur. Do not use anything like an insecticide, it could be toxic.
2. Follow the flea shampoo instructions carefully. Administer the shampoo over the whole body, starting from the neck down. Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes.
3. Comb through your dog's coat with a flea comb, gently removing any fleas. Kill any of the fleas you find.
4. Clean your home! Get the vacuum out, and give all your dog beds and towels a thorough wash.
How to prevent them
So that your dog doesn't keep getting bouts of fleas, go to your vet and they can prescribe you with a supply of once-a-month topical treatments which you can easily apply to a small area on your pet’s back every month for prevention.
Regularly grooming and bathing your dog will also help prevent fleas, as well as hoovering your home frequently.
Featured image: @ChelseaDogs
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