How many fleas on a dog is considered an infestation?

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Even one flea on your dog can cause itching and scratching. But how many fleas on a dog is considered an infestation? While there is no specific number that indicates an infestation, even a few fleas can indicate that there are many more lurking in your dog's fur and throughout your home. It's better to take action on fleas sooner rather than later.

Just One Flea Could Be a Sign of Problem

If you see just a few fleas on your dog, you might be tempted to think it's not a big deal. While the occasional flea may appear if you've just taken your puppy for a walk, more than one or two fleas may be a sign of a problem. As few as 20 fleas could mean your pet is infested, and the maximum number could be between 200 and 300. 1

Ignoring a few fleas can quickly lead to an infestation for your dog and your home.because two adult fleas can produce hundreds of eggs and pupae. Fleas begin feeding on blood within minutes of landing on your pet. They then mate, and within two days the female can begin laying eggs.3 In just four to nine days, she will lay 27 or more eggs each day in your dog's fur. Eggs can fall onto the carpet and other places. The larvae can hatch from the eggs in five to eleven days and then grow into pupae in tiny cocoons. They can remain in the cocoon for weeks and even months. Pupae are the hardest to kill, so it is recommended to treat fleas before they reach this stage. This is another reason why it is so important to act immediately.

Signs that your pet has fleas

There are many signs that your dog has fleas. The most obvious is that your dog is itching and scratching more than usual. You may also see tiny black specks (called flea dirt) on his coat or bedding. Flea dirt can turn dark red-brown when sprinkled with a little water.

Running a comb through your dog's fur can also reveal fleas. Tiny white segments that look like grains of rice where your dog sleeps or sits are tapeworms, which is another sign of fleas.

Treatment for your pet

If your dog has fleas, it's a good idea to talk to your veterinarian about the best options. Your veterinarian may recommend a tablet that will kill all adult fleas on your pet. You can also use flea shampoo to attack the small insects. Adams Flea and Tick Cleansing Shampoo kills adult fleas and prevents eggs from hatching for 30 days. The Adams Plus Flea and Tick Collar for Dogs and Puppy can protect your pup for up to six months. This is especially useful if you let your dog outside often.

Home and yard care

It is not enough to treat only your pet. If you don't treat your home and yard, the infestation will continue. Fleas can live a long time and may survive long enough to infect your dog again later.

If you have fleas in your home, you should vacuum your home and wash your bedding and your pet's bedding. But don't stop there. Adams Home Flea and Tick Spray kills both fleas and ticks. It protects for up to seven months and also kills cockroaches, spiders, ants and more. Adams Flea and Tick Carpet Powder kills fleas, eggs, larvae and pupae. Each package covers one to two rooms (200 to 400 square feet). The powder also contains an insect growth regulator that kills fleas for up to 30 days and controls re-infestation for up to 365 days.

For the yard, try Adams Yard and Garden Spray. It protects against fleas for up to four weeks and also kills ticks, mosquitoes and ants.

Prevention is important

While you should treat fleas if you notice them, prevention is also important. If you can prevent fleas from entering your home and yard, you won't have to worry about an infestation. Once you have the problem under control, continue flea treatment even in winter.

Seeing even a couple of fleas on your dog could be a sign of an infestation underfoot. If you notice several, run a comb through your dog's fur to check if there are more. If you treat your dog, your home, and your yard right away, you can avoid serious infestations in the future.

1. Flea science. “How many fleas can live on a cat or dog.” FleaScience.com, https://fleascience.com/flea-encyclepedia/life-cycle-of-fleas/adult-fleas/how-many-fleas-can-live-on-a-cat-or-dog/.

2. Potter, Michael F. “Flea Control and Prevention.” Entomology at the University of Kentucky, June 2018, https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/ef602.

3. Merchant Mike and Robinson James. "Fighting fleas." Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, https://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/library/insects/controlling-fleas/.

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