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What to Know About Fleas
The most common external parasite for dogs is fleas. Did you know that excessive flea problems can cause many skin problems as well as internal parasites? Do you know how to tell if your dog has fleas? Do you know how to get rid of fleas?
How to tell if your dog has fleas
One of the first things you may notice if your dog has fleas may not be the bugs themselves. Flea droppings, otherwise known as flea dirt is tiny black dots you may see in your dogs fur or on their belly where there isn't as much thick fur to look through. Fleas like to hang out in the groin and “arm pit” areas on pets since they are warm and protected there. You will usually find larger amounts of flea dirt in those areas.
Next will be the itching. Fleas feed by biting and sucking the animal’s blood. This causes the dog to itch and scratch where they've been bit.
Some animals even develop allergic reactions to the flea saliva. This can result in excessively itchy spots that become open sores which are known as a hot spot.
If the fleas go untreated you will eventually be able to see the fleas themselves, usually this means you have a severe case of fleas. Fleas are tiny and fast they are hard to see in the hair coat but often in more severe cases you will see them moving in the coat and around the face. Also they are easier to see on lighter colored dogs.
What to do if your dog has fleas
It is important to take action at the first sign of fleas. If it remains unattended the dog could ingest fleas while scratching and end up with internal tapeworms, or they could end up with severe skin issues due to scratching. It is best to consult your vet to come up with a plan of action it could be as simple as a flea collar, or using an over the counter treatment, to a prescription treatment of flea baths and tablets that will get rid of the external fleas as well as any internal parasites they may of caused. It may even be recommended that you treat your house and yard to avoid re-infestation. There are commercial sprays that can be used as well as natural homemade remedies that work well. You just have to decide what works best for you and your dog.
American Veterinary Medical Association – External Parasites
Pet MD – Does my dog have fleas?
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