Flea Information

Fleas, what are they?

Siphonaptera, or as they are commonly known the Flea. These are flightless insects and there are about 2500 variations of them. These parasites live on other animals and feed on their hosts blood. Dog fleas are fast moving and just a few millimetres long.

In short they are blood sucking little grot bags and nobody likes them!

Why are they bad?

The fleas feed by biting the skin of its host. This biting can cause irritation to the skin, leaving red marks. The irritation will often cause an itchy reaction, this itching as well as being very uncomfortable, will cause scratching or gnawing that can lead to further injury of the dog. The biggest risk from fleas would be that they can transmit disease. If they pass from an infected animal to a healthy animal biting and drawing blood can transmit many kinds of diseases, some even fatal ones. In young puppies, or even adults if the infestation is severe enough, Fleas can cause anaemia due to all the blood sucking.

If your dog has fleas, you want to get rid of them ASAP. But after being a dog groomer for many years, and seeing many dogs with flea infestations, we have yet to personally hear of a dog getting ill from disease transmitted by them.

How to spot them / Symptoms?

They can be hard to spot with how fast they are and sometimes the first sign can be that your dog is itching or scratching (mainly due to irritation caused by flea bites). Maybe they are not just scratching with their paw, maybe they rub them selves on the table leg or a wall, or even bum scooting. There can sometimes be hair loss. There can be black ‘grit’ in the coat – this could actually be flea dirt (which is often easier to spot than the flea itself).

Extra Information!

Fleas can move to humans from a dog.. but they can not live on us too long. They may bite us and we will show signs in the form of itchy red dots. They will seek to get back to a cat or dog as soon as they can though.

They can jump incredible distances for the size, easily clearing a foot in distance!..

The eggs can stay dormant for months waiting for an animal to come past before hatching so the flea can jump to the host!

Their body is really tough and you would really struggle to crush one between your fingers!

What should I do now I know my dog has them?

  • Call Vet and get them booked in, explain what it is for. The vet will likely just need an accurate weight.
  • Get the prescribed medication from the Vet. There are a number of over the counter treatments and we even supply Spot On Flea treatment but we would recommend stronger stuff as Fleas are resilient. Something like Bravecto.
  • If you have other pets you might want to get them booked in for the same.
  • Get the dogs out the house, give it a good vac, put as much bedding and pillows or any soft furnishings in the washing machine on a high temperature wash. Then spray your house with flea insecticide (we recommend Staykil Household Spray, or Indorex Defence). Follow the instructions on the can.
  • While out the house waiting for the sprays to do their work, and for the medication to work, you could always go through your dogs coat with a flea comb to get as many as you can out.

Hope this infomation helps someone along the way. If you have any questions feel free to drop us an email or get in contact with your Vet.

Here is a great video showing the life cycle of the Flea!

Last Edited : 15/08/20
Published : 25/10/17
Sources : PetMD, Local vets, Wikipedia
Author : Bob Dent