Dogs with fleas don’t always scratch. On the other hand, dogs that scratch don’t always have fleas. Various skin conditions, poor diet, allergies, and dry skin can cause excessive scratching, too. So, how can you tell if your dog has fleas?
Fleas move very quickly on the dog’s skin, which makes it difficult to spot them. If you suspect your dog has them, there are several ways to check. Look at his belly where the fur is sparse. You might see a flea or two in that area. You can inspect his skin all over by separating sections of the fur. Besides looking for fleas, look for “flea dirt,” which looks very much like grains of pepper. The flea dirt is actually flea poop, which is often the first visible sign that a dog has fleas. If you wet the dog, the poop would dissolve and turn the water a rusty, reddish-brown color. This is actually from your dog’s blood which had been ingested by the fleas.
You might see a little flea dirt, or you might see a lot of it. If you see any at all, your dog has fleas, even if you didn’t see any crawling on him. In warm climates, such as Miami, you should check your dog for fleas regularly throughout the year.
A flea problem should not be taken lightly as it can cause serious health problems for your pet. A heavy infestation on a young puppy (or kitten) can even cause death.
My Dog Has Fleas! Now What?
Should you dip the dog at home, take him to the vet, or take him to the groomer?
Pet shops and supermarkets sell a vast variety of flea dips and shampoos for your pet. If your dog has only a few fleas, there’s no reason why you can’t treat him yourself if you choose to do so. Make sure to follow the label instructions on whatever product you buy, and pay close attention to age restrictions. Many products are not suitable for young puppies. Additionally, never use cat products on dogs, or dog products on cats.
When using a flea dip or flea shampoo, always begin on the dog’s head, face, and ears so the fleas won’t run for shelter in those hard to reach areas. Be extra careful not to drip any solution in your pet’s eyes. Applying the solution with a sponge is helpful. All shampoos should be rinsed thoroughly from the coat. Most dips should be left on the coat and not rinsed out, so again, follow directions carefully.
The second option is to take the dog to your veterinarian where either an assistant or a groomer on staff will dip your pet.
Your third and (in my opinion) best option is to take the dog to a dog grooming Edgewater Miami shop. Why is it best? First of all, a vet’s fee is usually a lot higher than a groomer’s fee. Secondly, (and more importantly) a groomer has a lot more experience at ridding dogs of fleas than most people who work at a vet’s office due to the volume of dogs groomers treat for fleas.