Fleas are the most common external parasite and make your pet extremely uncomfortable. If they aren't treated promptly, fleas can cause infections or serious disease in your pet. Our Kent vet team explains signs of fleas and what to do if your pet has them.
What are fleas?
Fleas are external parasites that rely on a host to live. Unless their lifecycle is broken, adult fleas will reproduce and thrive on your pet and in your home.
What signs of flea infestation should I look for?
Your pet may be allergic to flea saliva, which is usually the reason they begin the scratch as soon as they are bitten. One bite is all it takes to make your pet agitated and begin excessively scratching.
Red bumps or pimples may appear along your pet's belly and behind in addition to the scratching. Constant scratching in these areas will lead to hair loss and overly dry skin. If untreated lesions or infections can even develop and lead to severe diseases.
How can I check my pet for fleas?
Adult fleas are relatively easy to spot wit your eyes. They are small and brown.
While grooming your pet, it is advisable to get into the habit of checking your comb. While your pet lies on their side, also make a habit of checking their abdomen and other areas with thinner hair.
You may also notice flea feces (sometimes known as "flea dirt"). It looks like small grains of sand or, when wet, like black pepper. This can be detected by brushing your pet using a fine-toothed comb over a white towel and cloth. If there is any flea dirt filling from your pet's fir, it should be obvious.
What if I can’t find any fleas, but my pet is still scratching?
If your pet is excessively scratching and you aren't able to find any fleas, visit your vet. There, they can test your pet for allergies to fleas as well as any other kind of allergy. The scratching may be in response to another allergen which is making your pet itchy and uncomfortable.
If my cat or dog does have fleas, how do I get rid of them?
There are many safe and effective treatments for eliminating fleas. These include shampoos, powders, topical liquids, and sprays. You might need to visit your vet if your pet's case if more sever to receive a prescription for antibiotics or creams.
Prevention and early treatment are the best ways to ensure your pet doesn't develop more serious flea-caused issues in the future.