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How to Check for Fleas on a Dog

Human hands picking fleas off the underbelly of a dog

There Are Good Signs

When your dog is bothered by fleas, there are things he or she will do to let you know there is a problem. When you see those different behaviors, all you have to do is examine your dog to see if it is a flea problem or not.

To learn how to check your dog for fleas, just continue to read our article. It has that information and other important data you should know about. Take a few minutes to see how this information can help you solve a flea problem.

So, you found fleas on your dog. How do you get rid of them? Check out our post “What Can I Use for Fleas on My Dog?” to learn more.

How to Find Fleas on a Dog

Golden retriever sitting on a dirt path scratching

You just have to know where to look. That may sound condescending, but it is not. Fleas have their favorite spots on pets and those are the first places you should look. The places to start your search will be their bellies, the back of their necks between the shoulder blades and around the tail.

All you have to do is gently part the dog’s fur and look at its skin. If you see a dark black insect walking around, then you know your pet has fleas. Flea eggs and larvae are harder to spot. The eggs are small, c-shaped, and white or clear.

Their light color makes them very hard to spot so if you see an adult flea, chances are eggs are nearby. The good news is that flea eggs are designed to fall off your pet. So, if you are lucky, most will have fallen off by the time you spot any.

Where to Find Fleas on a Dog?

yellow labrador biting at the base of its tail

As we mentioned in the last section, fleas do have their favorite places to hide and make their home. The tail is one of the key places to look first. After that, you should check their necks right behind their heads. Then move down to their bellies to see if you can see any fleas walking about.

If you gently part the fur, you should be able to see down to the skin and since adult fleas are black in color, you should see them quite easily. The eggs are a different matter due to their very light color.

You will have several options at your disposal to treat your pet. First, you can give the dog a bath and use flea shampoo on them. Or, second, you can put a dog collar around their neck or spray some flea powder all over them.

There are other treatments you can do but it is your choice which product you use.

Have you ever wondered if a flea can burrow under a dog’s skin like a mite can? Check out our post “Do Fleas Get Under Dogs Skin?” to learn more.

Where Are You Most Likely to Find Fleas on a Dog?

Close up of a flea in grey fur

Fleas like to stay hidden, so you will find them down near the skin of your dog. That is the best place for fleas as they can feed easily from that location. Once you spot the fleas, you can use a flea comb to get them out of their hidden spots.

You may be using different anti-flea products at the time, but those products do not stop the flea from jumping on the animal. They will kill the flea once it has landed and spent some time on your dog but for those products to work, the flea needs to land.

Fleas also like safe spaces, so they will be near those spots that are hard for your dog to reach with its mouth. Just identify those locations and start your search for fleas in those locations. Take your time as fleas do not walk fast and you want to get them all.

Can You See Flea Eggs on Dogs?

illustration of the life cycle of a flea

If you look hard enough, you should be able to see the fleas camped out on your pet. But they will move as quickly as they can to find a new hiding spot. But there are signs to watch for when you want to know if your dog has fleas.

These signs are your dog chewing at their back or tail and two, scratching more than usual. These are tell-tale signs of a flea problem. Then if your dog has flea allergies, these signs will let you know that he or she has a flea problem:

  • Extreme itchiness
  • Crusty skin
  • Redness of the skin
  • Hot spots or moist red areas on the skin
  • Hair loss
  • Skin infections

When you spot those conditions, you need to use the right treatment to heal their bodies as well as get rid of fleas.

Once your dog has fleas, how do you get rid of them? Check out our post “How to get rid of fleas on a dog” to learn more.

Some Final Words

Shiba Inu laying in thick grass

Spotting fleas sometimes takes sharp eyes. These creatures are small, and their eggs are even smaller. Once you spot them you need to take action to protect your dog’s health. Fleas will spread germs and diseases if you let them.

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