Fleas are the small microorganisms that feed on the blood of dogs. Fleas are usually dark brown or black in color and 1-3 millimeters in length. However, their excellent jumping and leaping capabilities allow them to cover very large distances within a very small time. Fleas can jump 10000 times successively when searching for a host to feed on. Dogs serve as an excellent host for cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis). They have around 2000 different types of species and subspecies and grow vigorously in warm and humid atmosphere.
How to know if your dog has fleas?
Fleas are usually found on the abdomen of the dog and its head and base of the tail. However, depending on the environment and the breed of the dog, fleas may exist anywhere on the dog's body. Some of the signs that your dog may have fleas present in its coat include the following:
Â·Loss of hair and the glossiness of the coat
Â·Flea dirt or eggs found in the dog's coat and environment
Â·Increased itching, biting or licking of the skin by the dog
Â·Hot spots and scabs
Â·Cold body temperature
Your dog is mostly likely to be affected with fleas if it mostly lives in the outside environment. Warm and humid weathers further increase the likelihood of flea infestation.
Complications and Illness Related to Fleas
Since fleas feed on the blood of the host, they can consume the blood up to 15 times the weight of their body. This can cause blood deficiency and consequently loss of normal bodily functions. Particularly in small dogs and puppies fleas can be life threatening if not look after quickly, as the shortage of red blood cells can pose a serious threat to the life of the dog. The signs of this complication include pale gums, littleness and drop in the body temperature.
Another serious illness associated with fleas includes allergic dermatitis. This happens when the dog you own is highly sensitive to the flea saliva, and even a small bite can trigger an allergic reaction that may cause intense itching and uneasiness for your pet. This also leads to skin infections and exposes the dog to other potential problems.
Prevention and Treatment of Fleas
Consider the following to prevent fleas in your pet dogs.
Â·Use flea comb on your dogs furry coat
Â·Wash his/her bed sheet and living place once every week.
Â·If your dog lives outside your home, treat and take care of your yard more rigorously
Â·Occasionally spray insecticides or nematodes that kill the flea instantly
Â·Look out for the abovementioned signs of fleas in dogs and take preventive measures quickly. Consult your vet immediately if you think your dog is sick.
When looking for a proper flea treatment your vet is going to give you the best diagnosis advice in this regard. Choosing the right flea treatment product that is compatible with your dog and its environment is necessary. Most of the treatment methods include application of shampoos, liquids and sprays on the back of the neck and other body areas. Flea treatment products are different for cats and dogs so be careful is choosing the right product. If the flea problem is severe you might consider temporary evacuation of your home for pest control.