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What to do if your dog has fleas

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Fleas on your dog can cause a wide range of problems, from annoying to serious. Fortunately, fleas can be treated and future outbreaks can be prevented. A key part of this is knowing how to recognize flea larvae and eggs on dogs, and then understanding the best ways to treat your dog to keep the fleas from coming back.

Recognizing fleas in dogs

If you want to find out if your dog has fleas, there are several methods you can try. Watch out for severe scratches or bites.1 Carefully examine your dog's skin for signs of fleas, such as tiny insects running or jumping on his fur, or black spots ("flea dirt"), which are actually flea droppings. Run a flea comb through your dog's fur to catch fleas or flea dirt.

You also want to know how to recognize flea larvae or eggs on your dog. Flea eggs are the size of a grain of salt, oval in shape and off-white in color.2 They are difficult to detect, which is why you may only see them in bedding. Flea larvae, which hatch from flea eggs, look like very small off-white worms.

You are more likely to see adult fleas or flea dirt than flea eggs or larvae. You may also see segments of the tapeworm that are larger than the flea eggs.3 They look like small grains of rice and usually appear where your dog sits or sleeps. How does your dog get infected with tapeworms? Your dog can become infected with tapeworms by ingesting fleas.

How to solve an urgent problem

If you notice signs of fleas, you should take immediate action.

  1. Clean your pet thoroughly with a product like Adams Plus Flea and Tick Foaming Shampoo and Cleanser for Dogs and Puppy Dogs to kill fleas and their eggs. It kills fleas, ticks and lice and prevents flea eggs from hatching for 28 days.
  2. Vacuum the entire house with a powerful vacuum cleaner. Brushes for whipping in a high-quality vacuum can remove a quarter of the flea larvae and more than half of the flea eggs. Be sure to vacuum carpets, floors, and all upholstery. If possible, have your carpets cleaned by a professional. After cleaning, take the vacuum cleaner outside, remove the bag and throw it away. Flea eggs and larvae can hide in your carpet; It may take several days of vacuuming to remove all the flea eggs.
  3. Follow the preventive measures below to prevent fleas from returning.

Why prevention is so important

Once on a dog, the flea feeds and then lays up to several hundred eggs over a few days. Ten adult females can produce approximately 10,000 flea eggs in just 30 days. Eggs and larvae can be found in the grass and soil of your yard. Fleas can ride on your dog and enter your home, where their eggs will land on the carpet and furniture. The eggs then lie dormant for several weeks before they become adults. The life cycle of fleas is long: the average lifespan of an adult flea is 113 days.

The most effective approach to a flea problem is to treat your pet, your home, and your yard before the infestation spreads. Try these three steps to prevent fleas from returning.

Pamper your pet

Use Adams Plus Flea and Tick Spray or Adams Plus Flea and Tick Collars with Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) designed to kill flea eggs and larvae. The spray is effective for up to two months, and the collars are effective for up to seven months. IGRs disrupt the flea growth cycle, preventing these pests from developing into biting and reproducing adults.

Take care of your home

Treat your home carefully to ensure fleas, eggs and larvae do not survive.

  • Wash your pet's bedding.
  • Vacuum your home (carpets, floors and upholstery) regularly with a powerful vacuum cleaner.
  • Apply Adams Flea & Tick Home Spray or Adams Plus Flea & Tick Indoor Fogger. Both products reach fleas over large areas of carpeting and other surfaces. For a more targeted approach, use Adams Plus Flea and Tick Carpet Spray to kill fleas and flea larvae in areas your pet frequents.

Take care of your yard

Make sure your dog doesn't pick up fleas in the yard and bring them back into the house.

  • First, cut the grass. Collect and discard the trimmings.
  • Attach the Adams Yard & Garden Spray to the end of a garden hose and spray the areas your pet has access to. This will cover up to 5,000 square feet and is suitable for use on marked outdoor surfaces.

Once all this is done, check your pets regularly to make sure the fleas haven't returned.

Fleas can cause a variety of problems for you, your dog and your home. With a few simple steps, you can take care of your existing fleas and prevent them from coming back.

1. Burke, Anna. “What do flea bites on dogs look like?” AKS,

June 11, 2019,

2. Coates, Jennifer. “What do flea eggs look like and how to get rid of them?” PetMD, 7 June 2019,

3. AKS personnel. "Tapeworms in dogs: symptoms, treatment and prevention." AKC, December 21, 2015,

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