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How To Check Your Dog For Fleas

Fleas are a fact of life for most animals, and dogs can easily pick them up on their travels. Once on board, fleas can be very irritating for your dog and can make them very restless.

If you notice any dry skin or persistent scratching or nibbling with the front teeth – particularly around the base of the tail and the collar region, which fleas seem to favor – then your dog probably has fleas.

A dog with fleas scrathing at its head
Telltale signs - a dog with fleas will spend a lot of time scratching

To check for fleas, back-comb your dog’s hair around his tail and examine his skin for tiny black spots. These are flea droppings. To check, scrape some off and put it in water. If the water turns a light red, it is definitely flea poop! Alternatively, you can brush some of them onto a damp, white paper towel, and see if the spots turn red there.

How To Apply Flea Treatment To Your Dog

Flea medication usually works against both fleas and ticks. The most effective method is to administer a contact medication onto your dog’s skin. Don’t just administer it onto your dog’s hair as it will not be absorbed and will not work its magic. Simply follow the instructions.

Avoid applying the treatment to areas on your dog’s coat where he can lick it off. The best places are his back, as well as above and below his collar. Treat all your dogs at the same time, otherwise the problem will reoccur.

Ask your vet how much treatment you should apply at one time, as well as how often you should apply it. They will provide you with the correct dosage for your dog’s weight and size and will be able to give you any information regarding how to apply a particular flea prevention product.

Dogs play fighting puppies play on lawn
Running and playing in fields, woodlands or even gardens, dogs can easily pick up unwanted parasites such as ticks and fleas

Flea and tick collars are available in pet stores. They last around 7-8 months – again, speak to your vet for details.

The Dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis) is a species that has evolved to live on dogs – or on wolves, more accurately speaking – and does not take up residence on the dog’s human owners. They still take a few bites, however, and if there’s a real plague of them you may notice red blotches at ankle level – that’s where a dog flea (or maybe a Cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis), if you have cats) has jumped up for a little snack, not liked what he found, and gone hopping back to his canine host!

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