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How can I tell if my dog ​​has fleas?

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How can I tell if my dog ​​has fleas? If you notice your dog scratching, shaking his head, biting himself, and then scratching some more, you might be surprised. This behavior could certainly indicate that she has itchy bugs, but how do you know for sure? A careful examination of your dog's skin is enough to tell if he has fleas.

Symptoms of flea infestation

How do you know if you have a flea infestation? The signs are easy to spot. Your dog may be itching much more than usual. Her skin may be irritated, red, or have scabs.1 She may bite her skin so often that her hair begins to fall out. Because other things can cause itching, it is recommended to look for specific signs of fleas, including those listed below.

Examine your dog's skin

Carefully inspect your dog's skin for fleas. Look for tiny, dark insects smaller than ants. Your dog's armpits and groin are favorite habitats for fleas because they tend to be warm and protected. Part the dog's fur with your fingers to expose the skin. If fleas are present, you may notice the following signs:

  • The skin may look red and bumpy, especially if your dog has been itching.
  • You may see tiny adult fleas running away quickly or even jumping.
  • You may see larvae or cocoons hatching and pupating (developing into adults).

Look for flea dirt

When examining your dog's skin, you may see tiny black dots that look like finely ground black pepper. This is flea "dirt" (or poop) and can be another sign of a flea infestation.

You can tell flea dirt from regular dirt by picking up any black specks that fall off your dog on a white paper towel. Spray the spots with a little water. If they turn dark reddish brown, it is a sign of flea infestation.

Use a flea comb

Run the flea comb through your dog's fur, starting at the skin. If your dog has fleas, the fine teeth of a comb should catch them. You can throw them in a nearby bowl of soapy water to prevent them from surviving.

Try a light trap

Use a light trap to detect fleas in your home. At night, place a small plate of soapy water on the floor near the night light. The fleas will jump into the light and fall into the bowl.

Watch for tapeworms or flea eggs.

Tapeworms or flea eggs can also signal a problem in your dog. Flea eggs appear as tiny white ovals that drop off in places such as the bed or carpet.

Tapeworms are internal parasites that a dog can contract by ingesting a flea. If you see tiny white segments that look like small grains of rice near where your dog sleeps or sits, this could mean your dog has fleas.2 You should also talk to your veterinarian about treatment for tapeworms.

Are you bitten by fleas?

Fleas are just as happy to bite people as they are other animals. If you have flea bites, you may see a small group of small red bites or a series of itchy bites in a line.3 They are usually located near the legs or ankles, but can also appear in the armpits, waist, and other places.

Treatment for your pet

If you find fleas on your dog, try to get rid of them as quickly as possible. Try a flea shampoo like Adams Flea & Tick Cleansing Shampoo for quick relief. Leave the foam on your dog's coat for five minutes, then rinse with clean water. Fleas should start falling off your dog. This will kill the adult fleas and prevent eggs from hatching for 30 days.

The Adams Flea and Tick Collar for Dogs can protect your pup for up to seven months, which is especially helpful if your dog goes outside.

Another option is Adams Flea and Tick Treatment for Dogs. This treatment is quick and easy to apply and prevents fleas and ticks from “re-infesting” your dog for up to 30 days.

Home and yard care

Your dog could get fleas again if you don't treat your yard too. Adams Yard & Garden Spray can kill fleas and protect your yard, garden and shrubs for up to four weeks.

Be sure to treat your home as well, as fleas can live in the carpet and other areas of your home. You have many options to choose from, such as room sprays, carpet spray or carpet powder, and home spray. If you want to invest in flea treatment now, check out where Adams products are sold.

Besides making your dog feel pretty miserable, fleas can also pose a health risk. Constantly scratching your dog can cause skin irritation, which can lead to infection. Since dogs can become infected with fleas at any time of year, you should be on the lookout for them at any time of the year. You can sign up for alerts to know when there is a flea outbreak in your area.

1. Burke, Anna. “What do flea bites on dogs look like?” AKC, June 11, 2019,

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

3. Health line. "Everything you need to know about fleas.",

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