6 Signs Your Pet Might Have Fleas

woman cuddling dog

Discover the telltale signs of a flea infestation.

These little buggers can cause big problems. While they’re more prevalent in the summer and warmer climates, they can live on pets all year long. Read on for signs of fleas and what you can do to prevent them.

  • 1

    Scratching and biting. Flea bites are painful to your pet, and the saliva released by flea bites can also irritate your pet’s skin. Scratching and biting is one way they try to alleviate that irritation.

  • 2

    Loss of fur. All that biting and scratching can lead to fur loss. If you notice bare patches on the neck, shoulder blades, the base of the tail, or along the back of the legs, fleas are likely the culprit.

  • 3

    Flea dirt. These little flakes, which look like black pepper, are actually dried blood and can be found on your pet’s skin and fur. You might also notice them on your pet’s bed, your carpet, or other places around the house.

  • 4

    Reddish-brown bugs. You might notice fleas in your pet’s fur, though they can be easy to miss! Adult fleas are tiny — about 1/8″ long — and have long back legs, which allow them to jump fast and far (up to a foot horizontally!).

  • 5

    Eggs and larvae. If you see little white ovals in your pet’s fur or around the house, they’re probably flea eggs. Also keep an eye out for larvae, which look like little white worms about the size of a grain of rice.

  • 6

    Irritated skin. Small red dots on your pet’s skin can indicate fleas, especially if those bites are located on the neck, shoulders, or base of the tail.

The good news is that flea infestations are treatable and preventable. A year-round medication recommended by a veterinarian will keep your pet happy and flea-free. And if you notice any of the signs above in your pet, consult a veterinarian for treatment.