Five Ways to Tell If Your Pet Has Fleas

You may be a longtime pet owner, or a first timer, but if your pet suddenly has a bad case of the “itches,” you may be wondering about the cause.

Fleas can be one of the many reasons your dog or cat is scratching, but here are five ways to determine if your pet has fleas.

  1. If your pet is scratching a lot, get up close and personal and take a look. Part the fur on the back, particularly toward the base of the tail, or when your dog is lying with his or her feet in the air, look at the underside of the belly, particularly toward the hind legs. (If you dog has long hair or a thick coat, part the fur to examine closely.) If you see small sesame-seed sized, dark brown insects, your pet has fleas. For your cat, check closely on the head and neck. Fleas like to hide in these areas.
  2. As you are examining your pet, look for reddened areas or loose hair. Flea bites can cause dermatitis and all that scratching can be from their bites.
  3. Also look for red or black droppings (“flea dirt”), the result of fleas biting your pet and excreting the blood. One trick is to put a white towel or sheet under your pet as you comb them. Flea dirt will fall off and onto the towel making it easy to spot. To tell the difference between flea dirt and regular dirt, add a drop of water. Flea dirt will turn red from the blood cells ingested by these pests.
  4. Another way to check closely for fleas or “flea dirt” is to use a flea comb. The fine-toothed comb will capture fleas, confirming whether your pet has pests. Keep a bowl of soapy water at hand; dip the comb in the water to kill any fleas you may have caught in the comb.
  5. If you are unable to spot the fast-moving, high-jumping pests, take your pet to the veterinarian, who can perform a flea allergy dermatitis test.

If all signs point to fleas, act quickly to stop them on your pet with a comprehensive program that includes killing and repelling the pests on your pet and treating your home and yard to keep them at bay.

Editor’s Note: SENTRY Fiproguard Plus IGR kills flea eggs and stops the reinfestation cycle. If you have a flea or tick problem on your hands, give this effective product a try!

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