How to Tell if Your Pet Has Fleas

The most obvious sign that your pet might be suffering from a flea infestation is frequent scratching. If you notice your pet is scratching or biting their skin, they could very well be fleas.

Looking for telltale signs of fleas

In order to be sure your pet has fleas, first try to locate adult fleas on their skin. Although fleas are tiny, if you look closely you may be able to find them, particularly on lighter skinned pets.

A flea comb can be helpful for this purpose. Flea combs have tiny, closely spaced teeth, and will remove adult fleas from your pet when used properly. Thoroughly combing your pet with this type of comb can locate adult fleas, as well as flea “dirt”, or excrement, which is another sure sign your pet has fleas.

Flea dirt is a sure sign of fleas

If you don’t have a suitable comb, you can try to locate flea dirt by examining your pet’s skin, particularly bare areas such as the belly. Flea dirt will look like tiny, dark specks. These specs are actually small bits of dried blood that have passed through the fleas’ system.

If you do find what appears to be flea dirt on your pet, collect some of the specks with a paper towel. Once you have some, moisten them with water. Since flea dirt is dried blood, the specks should turn reddish brown when dissolved in water. If they do turn reddish brown, that’s a pretty sure sign your pet has fleas.

Do you have flea bites?

If you’re suffering from bites yourself, especially on your ankles, that’s another sign you may have fleas on your pet and in your home. A good way to check for fleas in your home and yard is to wear white socks and shuffle around the areas your pet frequents. If you have fleas, it’s likely you’ll collect some on the socks, and they’ll be easy to spot on the white fabric.

If you determine your pet has fleas, don’t despair. Treat your pet and your home according to the information provided in this website. Your pet can be treated with a topical flea treatment, such as Frontline, and fleas in your home can be eliminated by following the recommendations in our home flea control page. The most important thing to remember is to treat both your pet and your home and yard to avoid re-infestation.