Fleas - Signs, Symptoms and Treatments

Table of Contents


Flea Signs

What Do Fleas Look Like?

Flea Symptoms

How to Check Your Pet for Fleas

Flea Treatments

How to Prevent Fleas

We're tackling a topic that every responsible pet owner should be well-versed in – fleas. Join us as we explore the signs, symptoms, treatments, and prevention strategies to ensure your pet's well-being and your home's peace. Let's dive into the fascinating world of fleas!

Flea Signs

Fleas are masters of stealth, and often, their presence goes unnoticed until it becomes a full-blown infestation. Understanding the signs is crucial for early detection. Keep an eye out for:

  • Excessive Scratching - If your pet seems more interested in scratching than their usual playful activities, it could be a sign of fleas. Pay attention to frequent scratching, especially around the head, neck, and base of the tail.

  • Restlessness and Agitation - Fleas are relentless biters, causing discomfort and restlessness in pets. If your usually calm companion becomes unusually agitated, fleas might be the culprit.

  • Red or Irritated Skin - Flea bites can lead to red, irritated skin. Check for any unusual red patches, especially in areas where your pet's fur is thin.

  • Hair Loss - In severe infestations, constant scratching can lead to hair loss. Keep an eye out for bald spots or thinning fur, particularly on the back and hindquarters.

  • Flea Dirt - Flea dirt, which looks like small black specks, is a telltale sign. Comb through your pet's fur, especially in areas close to the skin, and check for these tiny, gritty particles.

What Do Fleas Look Like?

To combat the enemy, you must know what it looks like! Fleas are small, wingless insects with flattened bodies designed for easy movement through fur. They're typically brown or reddish-brown, and at about 1 to 3 mm in length, spotting them can be challenging. Their bodies are adapted for jumping vast distances relative to their size – an astonishing feat that aids their survival. Our article What Do Fleas Look Like has a closer look and includes some itchy pictures!

Flea Symptoms

Understanding the symptoms associated with fleas can help you decode your pet’s itchy behaviours and identify, then address the issue promptly. Look out for:

  • Excessive Scratching and Biting

    If your pet is scratching or biting themselves more than usual, it could indicate a flea problem. Pay attention to areas where they focus their own grooming.

  • Restlessness and Pacing

    Flea bites can cause discomfort, leading to restlessness. If your pet is pacing, fidgeting, or struggling to find a comfortable position, fleas might be to blame.

  • Allergic Reactions

    Some pets are allergic to flea saliva, leading to more severe reactions. Keep an eye out for signs of allergic dermatitis, including redness, swelling, and hot spots.

  • Changes in Coat Appearance

    Fleas can impact the health of your pet's coat. Look for dullness, dryness, or changes in texture.

How to Check Your Pet for Fleas

Now that you know what to look for, let's embark on a flea-checking mission:

  • Start with a Visual Inspection - Examine your pet's coat closely, especially in areas where fleas tend to hide – around the neck, ears, and the base of the tail.

  • Use a Fine-Toothed Comb - Comb through your pet's fur with a fine-toothed comb, paying attention to the area close to the skin. Flea dirt and adult fleas might be caught in the comb.

  • Look for Flea Dirt - Flea dirt resembles small black specks. To differentiate between flea dirt and regular dirt, place the specks on a wet tissue – if they turn red, it's likely flea dirt, as flea faeces contain digested blood.

  • Check for Redness and Irritation - Examine your pet's skin for redness, irritation, or signs of allergic reactions. If you notice anything unusual, it's time to take action.

Flea Treatments

Once you've confirmed a flea infestation, it's time to explore treatment options. Here are some effective strategies:

  • Topical Treatments

    Spot-on treatments, applied to the back of your pet's neck, are a very popular choice. These treatments often provide a month-long shield against fleas. Itch Flea Treatment for dogs and Itch Flea Treatment for cats is a spot-on treatment delivered to your door each month!

  • Flea Collars

    Flea collars emit chemicals that repel and kill fleas. Ensure the collar fits snugly but not too tight for comfort.

  • Flea Shampoos

    Flea shampoos are useful for immediate relief. However, they might not provide long-term protection. Our article Does Flea Shampoo Actually Work gives a more in detail look at this treatment option.

  • Prescription Medications

    In severe cases, your vet may prescribe medications to address specific issues, such as allergic reactions or secondary infections.

How to Prevent Fleas

Prevention is the ultimate goal, and there are various steps you can take to keep fleas at bay:

  • Use Year-Round Preventatives - Don't limit flea preventatives to specific seasons. Continuous protection ensures your pet is safeguarded throughout the year. Itch Flea Treatment for dogs and Itch Flea Treatment for cats is a monthly preventative treatment that keeps your pets safe from those nasty parasites!

  • Regular Grooming - Keep your pet's coat well-groomed. Regular brushing and combing help remove potential flea hitchhikers and allow for early detection (and keeps them looking 10/10!)

  • Frequent Vacuuming - Hoover your home regularly, paying attention to carpets, upholstery, and areas where your pet spends lots of time. Dispose of the hoover bag regularly.

  • Wash Bedding and Linens - Wash your pet's bedding and your own frequently. High temperatures kill fleas at all stages of their life cycle - 60°C is hot enough to kill those buggers!

  • Treat Your Home - Use flea control products designed for your living space. Itch Flea Home Spray eliminates fleas and prevents reinfestation.

  • Limit Outdoor Exposure - Be mindful of areas where fleas thrive, such as tall grass and wooded spots. Limit your pet's exposure to these environments.

  • Community Awareness - Share your knowledge with other pet owners. Community awareness and collective efforts can create a flea-resistant environment for everyone.

Armed with knowledge about flea signs, symptoms, treatments, and prevention, you're now ready to tackle the flea menace head-on. Keep a watchful eye on your furry friend, maintain a regular grooming routine, and fortify your home against these tiny invaders. Happy flea-free adventures, pet enthusiasts!

Get rid of fleas and stop them coming back!

Flea infestations can be a nightmare, but with the right approach, you can take control and rid your pets and home of these bothersome pests. Remember that fleas can be persistent, so patience and regular treatment will be your best friends! By addressing both your pet and their environment, you can ensure a flea-free and comfortable living space for both your furry companion and your family.



Flea Treatment

How To Get Rid of Fleas

Fleas – those pesky little insects that can turn our furry companions' lives (and ours) upside down. If you've ever experienced a flea infestation, you know just how frustrating and uncomfortable it can be. These tiny creatures are not only a nuisance but can also pose health risks to both pets and humans. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the world of fleas, from understanding their origins to effective methods for getting rid of them. So, if you're tired of the itching, scratching, and constant battle against the blighters, read on to discover how to reclaim your home and your pet's comfort.

Flea General

The Vital Information You Need to Know About Peak Flea Season

As pet owners, we all know that fleas can be a pesky and persistent problem. These tiny parasites can infest our furry friends, causing discomfort and potential health issues if left unchecked. Fleas are most active during certain periods of the year, which we commonly refer to as the "peak flea season." Here, we dive into the crucial information you need to know about when fleas are most active, when they come out, and whether they prefer hot or cold weather conditions. Armed with this knowledge, you'll be better equipped to protect your beloved pets and your home from these bothersome critters.

Flea General

What is the Flea Lifecycle and How Can You Break It?

Fleas can turn into a massive headache for us pet owners. Understanding the flea lifecycle is crucial to effectively fighting off infestations and keeping your pets and home flea-free. Here we’ll look into the four stages of the flea lifecycle; egg, larvae, pupae and adult — and explore how you can break this cycle to eliminate these bothersome critters. Let's uncover the secrets of the flea lifecycle and learn how to reclaim a comfortable environment for both you and your furry companions.