Fleas

Fleas are small, black blood-sucking insects and one of the most common parasites found on dogs.

About Dog Fleas

Fleas are small, black blood-sucking insects and one of the most common parasites found on dogs. The most common flea found on dogs is the dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis) but occasionally rabbit and hedgehog fleas may be found on dogs. Adult fleas live on the dog and the females lay eggs at a rate of up to 50 eggs per day. The eggs fall off the dog and so end up on floors, house furniture, the dog's bedding, etc. The eggs then hatch and the larvae then develop into pupae in a sticky cocoon until an adult flea emerges. The new flea then attaches itself to an animal host and the cycle continues.

Symptoms Of Fleas

The symptoms of fleas can vary from no visible signs to severe itching with the dog scratching or chewing itself, usually on the lower back or base of its tail. Small black insects may be seen on close inspection and flea faeces may be seen by brushing the dog's coat with a fine-toothed flea comb and placing the debris collected on a wet piece of white paper. Flea faeces are made up of dry blood which are dark brown when dry, but turn red when wet. In some cases fleas can result in severe blood loss which can cause anaemia and even kill a puppy.

Treatment Of Fleas

If you suspect your dog has fleas, there are a variety of treatments for fleas such as flea collars, spot treatments and spray available from pet shops and veterinarians. However the fleas on the dog are only part of the problem, the dog's bedding, around the house should also be treated with flea treatments to kill any eggs. It is important to read and follow the instructions on any flea treatments carefully.

Prevention Of Fleas

Prevention is best achieved by applying flea treatments regularly to the dog to kill adult fleas, and so prevent the laying of eggs.

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