For most of us our pets are another member of the family, and the last thing we want is for them to have fleas or bring fleas into our homes. In this post, we cover the top warning signs of fleas and the top flea symptoms you should look for to get rid of fleas before it’s too late.
Seeing flea droppings is a key warning sign of fleas on dogs or cats
One of the first warning signs of fleas you may notice on your pet is flea droppings on your pet or in their living areas. Fleas don’t always stay on your pet and they can often frequent common living areas for your pet as well.
Fleas can hide in furniture, pet beds, carpet, and many other places your pet may frequent. Looking for flea droppings, or “flea dirt” as it is sometimes called, in your pets fur or living spaces can be an early warning sign of fleas.
These flea droppings can look like small dark seeds on your pets fur. A quick test to determine if it is flea droppings and not just mud or dirt is to take the dirt and place it on a wet paper towel.
If the towel begins to turn a reddish color, you most likely have flea droppings and not just regular dirt. Fleas are parasites that eat blood as their food source.
While flea droppings may look like dirt, they actually contain a fair amount of blood, causing them to turn to a reddish color when mixed with water. In fact, flea droppings have enough blood content that the larva use these droppings as their food source.
Flea eggs on a pet or living area is another top warning sign of fleas
Sometimes confused with flea droppings, flea eggs are another warning sign of fleas on your pets and in your home. Flea eggs however, are a bit harder to spot than flee droppings.
Flea eggs are similar looking to flea droppings, but flea eggs are usually more clear and translucent rather than black like their droppings. Fleas can actually lay up to 50 eggs a day, and the average flea will lay just over 1300 eggs in about a two month time span.
This can cause flea numbers to quickly explode in a very short period of time. While finding flea eggs is a common warning sign of fleas, it can be often very difficult to spot as most flea eggs are only 0.5 mm in length.
Your pets may also develop an allergic reaction and get an itchy red skin rash
Whether your pet develops an allergic rash or not, this flea symptom often leads to excessive itching, scratching, biting, licking, or cleaning of fur, skin, paws.
If you notice your pet is doing any of these excessive methods to deal with itchiness there’s probably a good chance they may have fleas.
Hair loss is another common symptom of fleas
Hair loss in your pets is often caused from the excessive licking and scratching to areas infested with fleas. Fleas tend to hide in the fur of pets which makes it harder when there isn’t hair to hide in.
Your pets may lick and scratch so much that they end up removing patches of hair around their body leaving only bare skin.
Scabs and hot spots can result from continued scratching and licking
Sometimes your pets won’t stop even when they have lost all the hair on areas fleas are feeding. This can cause them to develop sores, scabs, or hot spots on their skin.
Unfortunately, it becomes a vicious cycle with most pets when these scabs or hot spots develop as many just don’t have the sense to leave the wound alone to heal, and continue to itch and lick it doing further damage.
Your best bet at this point is to have them treated for fleas and seek medical attention. You may need to also use cones to prevent your pet from reaching the damaged areas.
Pale and weak gums caused from fleas feeding
Another little known symptom of fleas can be pale to white gums. Since fleas are parasites and feed on blood, this can actually cause an anemic state in some cases.
This means that your pet often won’t get adequate blood flow in their body from the blood loss of fleas feeding. This can cause your pets gums to turn a pale to whitish color.
Tape worms as a warning sign for fleas
The final most common warning signs of fleas is finding tape worms in your pets droppings. Fleas have been known to carry tape worms and as your pet scratches and licks in an attempt to get rid of fleas, they may accidentally ingest these tape worms.
This causes a double issue with the introduction of tape worms. Tape worms are another parasite that robs the body of nutrients and can cause damage to organs throughout your pets body.
Noticing partial or full tape worms in your pet’s droppings should cause concern. Seek immediate medical attention for your pets upon discovering tape worms for treatment of both the worms and most likely fleas as well.
Simple prevention tips for getting rid of fleas
If you already have a flea issue after discovering these flea warning signs, you might need to have your home treated for fleas, but if you haven’t seen them yet, there are a few steps you can take to prevent flea issues in your home.
Start with having your pets using flea collars or medicated flea treatments. Also we recommend brushing and bathing your pets on a regular basis to help remove fleas or to discover warning signs for fleas early.
Frequent vacuuming of your home can be another effective strategy for preventing flea issues. Fleas not only hang out on pets, but also on furniture, beds, and carpeting where your pets may frequent.
By placing a flea collar in your vacuum bag, you can help kill off any fleas or flea eggs that may be vacuumed up that could have been hiding around your home. Persistent flea issues in your home could also require a pest treatment to get rid of existing issues as well as preventing future issues.
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