There are more than 2,000 species of fleas and they can transmit a broad range of diseases, most notably tapeworms. A severe case of the fleas can cause anemia, especially in puppies.

What are the symptoms of fleas on dogs?

Not all canines react the same way to fleas, so you could see any of the following:

photo* Severe scratching which causes inflamed red lumps, skin lesions, and skin ulcers. Extreme cases are referred to as flea allergy dermatitis.

* Mild biting and scratching at the skin.

* Some dogs may be completely unaware of the fact that they have fleas in their coat.

How do I know if my pet has fleas?

Look for adult fleas in your dog’s fur. They’re a mahogany brown color, about 2-8 mm in length, and have three pairs of legs. The back pair is longer than the first two pairs. Also, fleas are quite flat when you look at them from side to side.

If you can’t see any fleas, look for flea feces or “flea dirt”, which is actually digested blood from your dog. To find flea dirt, comb through the fur on your pet’s neck and/or hindquarters. Gather the bits that drop out from his coat. Flea dirt looks like black flecks of dirt, and if you put them on a damp paper towel they will turn a dark red color, indicating that they’re composed of dried blood.

How do I treat fleas?

Every month, you should implement a flea prevention program that treats not only your dog but also the environment he lives in.

Once your dog gets fleas, it’s a real pain in the neck to remove them from your pet and your home. In addition, it can become expensive and take a few months to get rid of them completely.

As with other health issues, prevention is better than cure. Ideally, flea prevention should be a part of your regular dog care routine.

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