How Do You Know if You Have Fleas?
Nothing beats coming home from a long day of work to cuddle with your favorite little dog or cat. How often do you think about where your furry friend was all day before rubbing your face next to theirs?
If left unattended, fleas can also be very difficult to eradicate.
How to Tell How Bad a Flea Infestation Is
Have you noticed your pet acting differently or maybe scratching a little more? Wondering if it could be fleas? Keep reading for nine clear signs of fleas you should be aware of.
Probably the top indicator that your cat or dog may have fleas is excessive scratching. Bites irritate dogs and cats which is why they scratch or bite the areas.
Fleas tend to hang around areas that your pets can’t easily get to. This includes the back of the head and neck. Animals with especially thick hair give fleas optimal hiding spots.
Remember animals normally scratch all the time. But take a closer look if they seem to scratch for extended periods of time.
2. Hair Loss
Also called alopecia, sudden hair loss in pets could be a sign of fleas. Some of this is caused by your cat or dog constantly scratching and biting at spots where they are getting bitten.
Additionally, though, certain types of fleas can cause a reaction that leads to hair loss. If you begin to notice patches of hair loss in conjunction with some scratching, it would be wise to get a vet to take a look.
3. Welts And Red Skin
Flea bites can cause small stinging sensations. But they jump around so much, you’d never likely catch the little critter mid-bite. If you begin to notice tiny little bumps, consider checking for fleas.
For your dog or cat, sometimes bites cause allergic reactions. Saliva from fleas can lead to red, irritated patches of skin and painful-looking welts.
If you notice any of these skin changes in your pet, carefully look through their fur. Check armpit and groin areas first. Wear gloves to avoid picking up any fleas on yourself.
4. Ankle Bites
You might focus on your pet getting bites, but if your home has a large flea problem, you could be a meal too. Do you walk around barefoot a lot? If you do and notice bites around your ankles and knees, it is likely fleas.
These bites will not swell up a lot but can be very itchy. They will have one tiny puncture hole at the bite site. This distinguishes flea bites from spider bites, which often have two puncture holes.
Heavy home infestations are best handled by a professional. Check out the top things to look for when hiring a pest control specialist.
5. White Sock Test
Maybe you haven’t noticed any bites like mentioned above. This doesn’t mean your carpet is free and clear of these pests. One way to detect fleas in your house is to throw on a pair of white cotton socks and walk around.
Higher socks are better because you’ll be less likely to get bitten. Walk around carpeted areas for around ten minutes. If fleas are present, they will jump up to hitch a ride. Shuffling your feet is a good way to stir up any fleas that are hiding.
After walking around, carefully take the socks off and inspect them. If you see signs of fleas, take action quickly. Fleas, like many other pests, can make life miserable and damage your home.
6. Pale Gums
When you suspect your animal may have fleas, check their gums. Because fleas feed on your pets’ blood, they are at risk of anemia. Anemia basically means a reduced amount of red blood cells or hemoglobin in your pets’ bloodstream.
If your pet has pale gums and has been more tired than usual, it could mean a serious flea infestation. Get your dog or cat to the vet immediately.
7. Flea Dirt
Small red-brown or black specks on your pet or around your home may be a sign of fleas. While it could be typical dirt or dust, it’s important to inspect.
Flea dirt is flea feces. It often has a reddish hue due to the digested blood.
To distinguish flea dirt from normal household dirt or dust, collect some onto a white paper towel. Spray with water. If you begin to see red or brown hues, it likely is flea dirt.
8. Flea Eggs Hiding in Carpet
Another way to gauge if your home has become a playground for fleas is to check the carpet for eggs. Fleas lay their eggs in the carpet because it provides a relatively safe space for them.
To check for eggs, put on gloves and run your fingers through the carpet. Eggs tend to very small and white. Because they are so small, you may need a magnifying glass.
Finding eggs throughout your house means you have a fairly serious flea infestation.
9. Restless Pets
In addition to the above average amounts of scratching, your pet is likely to become restless if they have fleas. Any sudden change in demeanor is cause for concern.
For example, if your dog is normally calm and friendly, but becomes snappy and fidgety, check for fleas. This behavior is common because they are struggling with something they can’t remedy. Nor can they verbalize to you the issue.
Because of this, you should be alert for any strange behavior or appearance of discomfort.
Keep Your Fur Babies Flea-Free and Happy
Having a pet is an amazing experience, but unfortunately, it often means encountering fleas. If you keep an eye out for all these signs of fleas, you should be able to catch a problem before it gets serious.
Want to get a professional take on your flea problem? Natura Pest Control is available to discuss solutions in the Vancouver, WA area.