Symptoms Of A Flea Infestation

Posted on: 22 August 2016

Any time spent outdoors, whether its in the backyard, walking around the neighborhood, or going on hiking adventures, can lead to your dog getting a flea infestation. These bloodsucking pests are more than a discomfort, they can lead to skin irritation, allergic reactions, or even anemia in severe cases. Knowing the symptoms of an infestation can help you know when you need to get it under control before it leads to major health problems.

Dog symptoms

Your dog will likely show the first symptoms if fleas are invading your home. Things to watch for include the following:

  • Scratching and biting. While some scratching is normal, watch for excessive scratching and biting. You may even notice your dog pulling out fur or developing bald spots.

  • Visible fleas. You can check for fleas by parting your dog's fur in several places and watching carefully. The fleas will flea the part and appear as quick-moving specks.

  • Hives or rashes. Your dog may develop patches of obvious redness and irritation, especially if they have an allergy to flea saliva.

  • Flea "dirt." This is actually flea excrement and it has a reddish-brown color due to the blood they consume. You may notice this reddish-brown dust in areas where your dog tends to lie down, such as in their dog bed or kennel.

Household symptoms

As an infestation progresses, you may begin to notice fleas around the house. In some cases, you may even notice household symptoms before your dog's symptoms become obvious, so it is important to know what they are.

  • Small jumping specks. These, of course, are the actual fleas. You are most likely to see them near baseboards and on curtains. You may also notice them around your dog's favorite areas.

  • Flea bites. If you are experiencing bites, it's time to treat the house. A flea bite on a human resembles a small red dot surrounded by a fainter pink halo.


If you find fleas on your pet or in your home, you should talk to your vet about treatment options. Your vet will recommend a flea shampoo for immediate treatment. They may also provide other treatment options, depending on your dog's health, such as oral medications or flea collars.

You will need to also treat your home simultaneously or the problem will just resurface. This means laundering all fabric items, including curtains. Vacuum several times and dispose of the vacuum bag in a sealed plastic bag. Finally, you will need to use a flea spray. You may also need to have your yard treated for fleas.

Talk to your vet (like those at Kenmore Veterinary Hospital) for more help.