Fleas are one of the most common parasites to affect dogs, and for both pets and their owners, they can be very distressing. As well as causing uncomfortable itching and painful bites, they can have more serious consequences, including illness relating to blood loss (younger or weaker dogs are particularly susceptible) and the contraction of diseases.
Spotting fleas on your dog:
Unlike many parasites, fleas are quite easy to spot. Look out for dark flecks in your dog's fur and on his skin, as well as scratching.
However, the signs that your dog has fleas will not just be on your pooch. Check your skin for any unexplained insect bites, and keep your eyes peeled for small, dark insects on your furniture or in your carpet - 95% of flea eggs and larvae don't actually live on the host!
How to prevent fleas:
The length of the lifecycle of fleas depends on a number of factors, including the temperature (that includes central heating) and the steps you take at tackling them; it can vary from a matter of days to several months. Plus, once your dog has fleas, your home environment will be infested too. This means that both your dog and home will need to be thoroughly treated.
So, this is definitely a case of prevention being better than cure. Speak to your vet for advice on the best preventative treatments, both for your home and your pet, and make sure you're clear on how regularly you need to repeat them.
If you are interested in fleas, you may like to read our related articles: What you need to know about fleas, Why should I worm and flea my pet regularly?, A guide to de-fleaing your pet, Spring clean your home from fleas, Cat fleas, Top 5 myths about fleas, Help! My pet's got fleas.
Written by: Hannah