Checking for Fleas and Ticks

How to Check for Fleas, Ticks and Lice

  1. Have your dog or cat stand over a white countertop, sheet or piece of paper.
  2. If your dog or cat is long-haired, use a comb to part the hair so you can see the skin.
  3. In dogs or cats, run your fingers through the fur and shake, especially in the neck and tail regions.
  4. Look for evidence of fleas, like flea dirt (the feces fleas produce and leave on your pet.) Small specks that look like pepper could be flea dirt.
  5. To confirm, add a drop of water to the specks. They will turn a dark brownish red color. That’s because flea dirt is actually flea droppings, which are digested blood.
  6. Small, irritated red spots on the skin can indicate flea bites. These can occur anywhere, but are most common in warmer areas of the body.
  7. Ticks are more obvious, and you’ll be able to spot them.
  8. If you see what looks like white dandruff that moves on its own, that is actually lice.
  9. Finally, itching can be a sign of any of these pests. Itching alone is NOT a sign of them, however, and can indicate many conditions.

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