What are the signs that my pet may have fleas?

Fleas can make your pet miserable! If left untreated, fleas can lead to infections and cause more serious diseases. Here, our South Wilton vets share how to spot, treat, and prevent fleas on your pets.

What are fleas?

Fleas are external parasites that depend upon a host animals for their survival. Adult fleas will continue to reproduce and thrive on your pet and in your home, until you take steps to break the fleas' lifecycle.

What signs of flea infestation should I look for?

Pets are often allergic to the protein in flea saliva, which is why animals become itchy and irritated when they have fleas.

Often cats and dogs will begin scratching as soon as the flea bites their skin. Just a single flea bite can cause pets to scratch excessively and become agitated. 

Some other signs that your pet may have fleas are:

  • Red pimples or bumps on the belly, under the legs, at the base of their tail, or on their behind or groin
  • Constant itching or scratching
  • Dry skin and hair loss
  • Lesions and infection
More severe diseases can develop if the fleas are left untreated.

How can I check my pet for fleas?

Fleas are relatively easy to see with the naked eye. Adult fleas are small and brown and often move or jump when disturbed.

When grooming your pet be sure to check your pet's comb or brush for adult fleas. It can help to have your pet lie on their side while you groom them so that you are able to get a closer look at thinly-haired areas like their abdomen.

Flea feces or 'flea dirt' looks similar to black pepper or tiny grains of sand that turn red when wet. Comb through your pet's fur with a fine-toothed flea comb, available from your vet, and check comb for signs of flea dirt.

Having your pet stand on a white towel or cloth while you brush them can be helpful. The white fabric may help you to spot black droppings falling from your pet.

What if I can’t find any fleas, but my pet is still scratching?

If your cat or dog seems uncomfortable but there are no signs of fleas it's a good idea to make an appointment to see your South Wilton vet.

Your veterinarian can administer a skin test to check for flea allergies as well as other types of allergies that may be causing your pet discomfort.

If my cat or dog does have fleas, how do I get rid of them?

Safe and effective treatments are available from your vet's office to help prevent or eliminate fleas, including sprays, shampoos, topical liquids, and powders. In severe cases your vet may prescribe creams and antibiotics to help make your pet feel more comfortable.

Prevention and prompt treatment are the absolute best ways to ensure that your pet is not tormented by fleas.

Flea prevention medications are part of our Wellness Plans. Find the Wellness Plan that is best for your pet.

Sign & Symptoms of Fleas in Cats and Dogs, South Wilton Vet

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