Fleas in dogs: How do you avoid a flea infestation?

Does your dog have fleas? In the following article you will learn about the causes, symptoms and treatment options if your four-legged friend suffers from a flea infestation. You should act as quickly as possible to remove the fleas from your dog. Dr Sam also has a flea and tick product in his range. With this you can protect your dog from the parasites as a preventative measure.

Article from
Mag. med. vet. Lea Weiss
Veterinary surgeon with Dr. SAM
Table of contents

What is a dog flea?

The dog flea(Ctenocephalis canis and felis) belongs to the wingless insects. It reaches a body length of two to four millimetres and is brown to black in colour. Its body has a laterally flattened shape. The extremely strong hind legs allow it to jump extremely fast and far. Its head has powerful mouthparts for sucking blood.

A special feature of the parasites is that they are mainly found in the surrounding area. There they lay their eggs within the first 48 hours. One female flea produces up to 50 eggs a day! The flea larva develops over three stages into a pupa and finally into an adult insect. The parasites usually only visit their host for a blood meal.

As a rule of thumb, only 5% of flea infestations affect the animal itself. On the other hand, 95% of the different stages of development are in the environment!

Cause of fleas in dogs

Although the various flea species bear names such as "dog flea", "human flea" or "rabbit flea", they are not host-specific. Instead, they suck blood wherever they can. Our dogs can therefore not only get infected from conspecifics, but also from other animal species. It is also possible that they "pick up" the bloodsuckers in nature.

Flea infestation is often associated by laypersons with a lack of hygiene. But even with the best care , our dogs can come into contact with the parasites: Even the daily gas rounds are an unavoidable risk. Flea bites do not only itch: they can also trigger allergic reactions. Moreover, the bloodsuckers often transmit diseases. They are not choosy in their choice of host, so they can spread to other pets and to humans. For these reasons, early detection and therapy are indicated.

In the online shop of Dr. SAM you will find effective spot-on preparationswhich reliably protect your quadrupeds from insect and tick infestation. The application is simple and safe: carefully parting the hairs on your dog's neck so that you can see his skin. Now drip the contents of the Spot-On-Tube directly onto the skin. The protective effect lasts for a month.

Symptoms of flea infestation

Infestation with fleas results in these top 5 symptoms:

  1. Increased scratching, nibbling and licking of the coat
  2. skin wounds and crusts as a result of scratching
  3. restlessness, irritability
  4. Black spots in the coat
  5. redness, pustules and eczema of the skin

The first symptom in dogs is usually severe itching. On closer inspection, black spots can be seen in the coat or combed out. These are the excrements of the adult parasites.
Dogs react differently to contact with flea saliva. Particularly sensitive animals can develop clear skin symptoms such as pustules and rashes even at a low level of infestation.

If the flea infestation remains untreated over a longer period of time, various consequential damages are possible:

  • dull coat, hair breakage
  • hair loss, bald spots
  • Purulent skin inflammations
  • Anaemia

The coat changes are mainly caused by the severe itching, to which infected dogs react with violent scratching. Allergic skin reactions and scratching wounds are also intensively licked. The bacteria contained in the dog's saliva penetrate the skin lesions and can lead to severe, sometimes purulent inflammation. In severely affected dogs and puppies,anaemia can develop as a result of blood deprivation.

Flea diagnosis

  • Flea diagnosis is very straightforward; you can even make it at home. Comb or brush your dog's fur over a white kitchen roll until you have caught some of the black particles. Now you moisten the kitchen paper. If the particles turn red, they are digested blood and flea droppings. With a little luck, you might even catch a flea. This works especially well with a special flea comb.
  • In case of doubt, the veterinarian uses the microscope to determine whether the insect he has caught is actually a flea.

Therapy options when dog has fleas

One of the most common mistakes in therapy is to treat only the diseased animal. However, flea eggs, larvae and pupae as well as adult fleas can survive in the environment for months. In this case, they return to their host as soon as he no longer receives medication. Alternatively, they switch to other animals or humans living in the same household.

Source: BOYDTRIPHOTO/Shutterstock.com
  • Treatment of the dog: A number of antiparasitics are available to treat dogs for flea infestation: Various spot-ons, tablets and sprays kill existing ectoparasites within 24 hours and protect the animal from a new infestation. Dr. SAM will be happy to advise you on the correct application. At the same time, it is recommended for dogs with flea infestation to have a DewormingThe tablets are also recommended for dogs with flea infestations, as the parasites often transmit the dog tapeworm(Dipylidium caninum) when they suck blood.
  • Treatment of other pets: This measure is also essential for the flea treatment to be successful. But beware: some parasite remedies are poisonous to certain animal species! Be sure to discuss with your vet which medicines you may use and with whom.
  • Environmental treatment Flea treatment is only successful if the environment is taken into account. The most important measures include:
  1. Thorough vacuuming
  2. Washing of blankets, pillows, covers, floor mats and so on
  3. Cleaning of cracks, crevices and other "retreat places

After vacuuming and cleaning the flat, spraying with special products is recommended: Carpet and sofa n ooks are particularly popular places for fleas to hide.
The environmental treatment must cover the entire flat as well as all of the dog's usual places of residence outside of your flat. If necessary, do not forget the car, the office and the doghouse in the garden.
Remember that the parasites can survive in the hoover and get back into the environment. Therefore, dispose of the bag directly outside your home.
If fleas have spread massively in the environment, the only thing that helps is the use of a Foggers. This is placed centrally in an elevated position and sprays the entire area. All terrariums, aquariums and food must be removed from the room during this time and pets must not be allowed in the room. Depending on the manufacturer, such Fogger for a certain number of square metres.

Preventive measures against fleas in dogs

You can get special preparations from your vet to protect your four-legged friend against flea infestation. For example, flea collars and spot-on preparations are available. In Dr. SAM's online shop you will find excellently effective Spot-On products and Foggerwhich are also very easy to use. Their effect lasts for a month. At the same time, your pet is protected against ticks.

Fleas are an extremely annoying problem forboth the affected dogs and their owners. The therapy is lengthy and time-consuming, as it must include the dog's entire environment. In addition, the bloodsuckers can transmit a number of diseases and pass them on to humans. It is therefore worth taking effective prophylactic measures and avoiding parasite infestation in the first place.

If you are unsure and would like to learn more about Dr. SAM - just click on the link and you will receive further insights into our work.

Kind regards,
Mag. med. vet. Lea Weiss
- Veterinarian with Dr. SAM

Table of contents
Article from
Mag. med. vet. Lea Weiss
Veterinary surgeon with Dr. SAM

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