Fleas are a common problem for pets that can cause discomfort and even serious health issues if left untreated. Learn the early signs of fleas and what to do if your pet is affected from our vets at Williamsburg.
What are fleas?
Fleas are bugs that live on animals and need them to survive. If nothing is done to stop them, fleas will keep making babies and live on your pet and in your home..
What signs of flea infestation should I look for?
Cats and dogs can get flea allergies from the protein in flea saliva. This can cause them to scratch and become agitated, even from just one flea bite. Flea bites can also cause red bumps and pimples, leading to dry skin and hair loss. If not treated, fleas can cause infections and lead to more serious health issues.
How can I check my pet for fleas?
Check your pet for fleas during grooming. Fleas are small brown bugs that are easy to spot with the naked eye. When checking for fleas, look for "flea dirt" which looks like tiny black pepper or sand.
Use a fine-tooth flea comb from your vet to comb your pet's fur and check for black droppings. To make it easier, have your pet lie on its side and place them on a white towel while brushing.
What if I can’t find any fleas, but my pet is still scratching?
If there are no signs of fleas but your pet is still scratching, schedule an appointment with your vet, who can administer a skin test to check for flea allergies, in addition to other types of allergies during your visit. Your pet may be reacting to another type of allergy that's making them uncomfortable.
If my cat or dog does have fleas, how do I get rid of them?
There are several ways to get rid of fleas on your pet, such as using shampoos, sprays, powders, or topical liquids. If your pet has a severe flea infestation, your vet may prescribe stronger treatments like creams or antibiotics. It's best to start treatment early and prevent fleas to avoid any potential health problems for your dog.