Fleas are very small and are often hard to detect but they are visible to the naked eye. If your dog has a heavy infestation, you may see fleas on close ex amination of the coat.  The best way to check for fleas is to check for "flea dirt" which are brown/black specks seen in the pet’s coat.  These are composed of dried specks of blood extracted by the flea.  The best way to check for flea dirt is to comb through your dog’s coat onto a wet piece of kitchen roll or paper. If the specks turn red/brown, then you know your dog has fleas.

How to stop the itch

Don’t wait for your pet to itch or scratch before thinking about flea treatments.  Effective and regular flea control will help make sure your dog and your house stay flea free.

Adult fleas are tiny dark brown, wingless insects which can jump up to 165 times their own length and easily spread by contact from one animal to another.  Fleas need to feed on blood from either our pets or ourselves in order to survive and to breed.  For young puppies and kittens this blood loss can be distressing and may even be life-threatening.  In adult dogs (and humans) the main problem is the flea bite, which leads to irritation and skin allergy problems.  Fleas are also involved in the transmission of tapeworms.

The flea life cycle begins when the adult flea lays eggs in the coat of the pet. The eggs drop off into the environment and develop through immature larvae and pupal stages to form the next generation of adult fleas. So environmental control is very important in the event of an infection.

When it first emerges, the young adult flea immediately begins to search for a host and blood meal. After just one meal of blood the female becomes sexually mature and can start to lay eggs. A single flea can produce over 2,000 eggs in its lifetime!

Join natural historian David Bellamy, OBE and TV Vet Steve Leonard and learn about the impact fleas can have on cats and dogs.


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