Does My Dog Have Fleas?
September 26, 2022
If you own or have ever owned a dog before, you probably know a little bit about fleas. They’re a normal concern for owners–fleas can cause health issues for both animals and humans.
Fleas like temperatures of 65-80, so fleas in Miami prefer the “cooler” months from September through February. So as fall hits, it’s important to have an awareness about them.
Especially because of how common it is to find fleas on dogs. If you’re a pet owner, you probably start to worry if you see your dog scratching more than usual.
So if you’re worried about fleas, keep reading to determine if you need to up your flea control game or if your dog is just plain itchy.
What are Fleas?
Fleas are small. They’re really really small insects, tinier than both ants and bedbugs, and can cause issues for both you and your pet. Controlling fleas in Miami can be difficult, almost as difficult as seeing your pet in discomfort from the fleas or dealing with them yourself.
While fleas don’t have wings, these little guys can jump. With strong back legs, fleas on pets usually get there by jumping on them.
And similar to mosquitoes and ticks, fleas feed on blood. Once a flea is in the “adult” stage and it has its first blood meal, it starts laying eggs within 48 hours.
On average, fleas lay 4-8 eggs at a time and up to 50 per day! Crazy, right? So take that as a reason to take fleas on your dog seriously–with risks of tapeworms, fatal anemia, and general discomfort for your pup, it’s good to have the best flea treatment plan possible.
Flea Life Cycle
Understanding the flea life cycle will help you learn how a flea infestation works. There are 4 stages of life for fleas.
When an adult flea finds a host, once it’s had a blood meal it starts to lay eggs. The eggs will fall onto the host and hatch. Eggs take 1-10 days to hatch, depending on humidity levels and temperature.
Eggs turn into flea larvae when they hatch. During this stage they’ll feed off of adult flea droppings consisting of digested blood called “flea dirt”.
After 5-20 days of feeding, they’ll develop a cocoon and enter the pupae stage. In this stage, they’re protected from all insecticides and repellents.
Finally, they enter the adult flea stage when they detect a host through movement or body heat. Then, they emerge from their cocoons.
How Do I Know My Dog Has Fleas?
- Look for the fleas: While fleas are one of the tiniest insects, they’re not impossible to see. They’re usually a copper color, and usually can be found on the surface of your dog’s skin.
- Find flea dirt: You can also look for “flea dirt,” which is digested blood (icky, I know).
- Check for Flea Bites: Flea bites are tiny red bumps clustered together.
- Flea Bites vs. Mosquito Bites: Fleas and mosquitoes have a lot in common: They both like warm weather and blood. Flea bites look similar to mosquito bites, but flea bites are smaller, and only mosquito bites swell.
- Bed bugs also leave a similar bite–much like a mosquito bite. Both are red, raised, irritated bumps
Flea Control For Dogs
1. Wash Your Pets with Anti-Flea Shampoo
One of the best ways to prevent fleas is by getting them off your pets directly. So wash your pet with anti-flea shampoo. This should remove any fleas that were on your pet and prevent them from laying eggs and multiplying.
Then, follow up with a pet flea treatment for more permanent flea prevention. Look at the specific flea treatment instructions to see how often you need to wash your pet and repeat the flea treatment.
2. Use a Flea Comb
Your dog or cat can pick up fleas at any time as they’re almost always active. You should constantly be alert and looking for them.
They’re small and hard to spot, but if you see small, red or brown bugs sitting on your pet’s fur, you’re probably looking at fleas. To help you find the fleas, use a flea comb regularly on your pet.
You will be able to remove the fleas from your pet's fur and detect them before they can lay eggs and multiply. As a bonus, you have an excuse to spend quality time with your pet!
3. Add Brewer’s Yeast to Your Pet’s Food
Looking for a natural solution to keep fleas off your pet? Brewer’s yeast contains sulfur compounds that wards off the fleas.
Add this powder to your pet’s food or dissolve it in their water. Just confirm with your vet before you feed brewer’s yeast to your pet, and ask what dosage would be appropriate for your pet’s size.
If your pet refuses to eat the brewer’s yeast, you can sprinkle the yeast onto your pet's fur which will also help repel the fleas.
4. Rub Citrus on Your Pet’s Fur
Fleas and other insects like ants and cockroaches are repelled by citrus, so it's a great natural flea repellent. Easily make your own citrus spray by squeezing fresh lemon in some water and boiling that mixture.
After it sits overnight, pour it into a spray bottle, and gently spray it on your pet’s fur. Not only will there be fewer fleas on your pets, but they will smell fresh and citrusy. Bye-bye, bad dog smell!
Also, try spraying the citrus around the areas your pets frequently stay. Fleas will be discouraged from gathering in those areas, and your pet should pick up fewer fleas.
5. Purchase a Flea Collar
A flea and tick collar is a simple way to help keep these pests off your pets. There are many different types of flea collars available, some for just fleas and some for fleas and ticks.
A flea collar will either spread active ingredients to kill fleas or release an odor that repels the fleas. While it will not purge fleas from your house, it can kill the fleas that get onto your pet.
If you have a high infestation, you can use the flea collar in conjunction with some other flea treatments to help reduce the flea population on and around your pet.
How to Get Rid of Fleas in Your Home
Even if you think you’ve removed fleas from your dog, there’s a solid chance that the infestation is in your home as well. While treatment for fleas in your home is different from treatment for other pests like ants, roaches, and rodents, no need to worry–there are many solutions.
Vacuum Frequently: As fleas come into your house on your pet, they can easily hide in your carpet and wait for another host—either your pet or you! Plus, if adult fleas lay eggs on your pet, they will fall off into your carpet and lay there until they hatch.
Flea eggs are so tiny that you will not be able to see them without some magnification. It’s the perfect recipe for a flea infestation in Miami, FL.
Stop this infestation cycle by vacuuming your carpet frequently. This will remove a good part of the fleas from your carpet, so they do not jump onto a new host. Be sure to empty your vacuum bag into a sealed container afterward so fleas do not escape from your trash can.
Steam Clean: If you have a severe flea infestation, you may need to steam clean your carpet in addition to vacuuming. Where vacuuming may miss a few fleas, steam cleaning can kill the adult fleas and the larvae.
It will also remove dust and dander, making your carpet fresh and clean. Steam clean your upholstery and pet bedding as well to remove any fleas lingering there.
Wash Your Pet Bedding: Fleas will gather wherever your pets spend the most time. Naturally, one of the popular spots will be pet bedding.
To reduce the fleas infesting your pets, wash their bedding regularly. Throwing it in the washing machine for a cycle will kill any fleas that were on the bedding.
Though, you will need to keep washing the bedding regularly—perhaps every three days or more.
Spray with insecticide spray: Use an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) that contains methoprene or pyriproxyfen and spray in the corners, baseboard seams, and behind and under furniture. =
Set flea traps: Fleas are attracted to dish soap and warm water. Set small containers of it around the areas where your pets like to sleep or play. When fleas fall off your pet, they will come to the dish soap and die.
Replace this flea trap every day, so it stays fresh and keeps catching fleas. You can also dump the fleas from a flea comb into this trap to kill them after you have groomed them off your pet.
Try using essential oils: Cinnamon and clove oil are both toxic for fleas. Mix with water in a spray bottle and apply to areas infested with fleas. Don’t apply this to your pets, however, to avoid possible allergic reactions.
Sprinkle diatomaceous earth: DE is ground-up fossilized algae. Sprinkle around the walls and corners of your home to target fleas.
Mow the lawn: Mowing may not be your favorite activity, especially with the hot weather we can have in Miami, FL. But fleas like to hide in tall grass and under thick vegetation, which means they love to gather under the tall grass in your yard.
To stop the fleas from gathering, keep your grass cut short. The sun will be able to shine through the grass to the soil, keeping it drier and preventing flea larvae from developing into adults.
Call a flea exterminator: A flea exterminator can properly address the situation by getting rid of the fleas in your home and making sure they don’t return.
Flea Exterminator Near Me
If you suspect fleas on your dog, on another pet, or fleas in your home in general, finding a flea exterminator in Miami is a guaranteed way to solve that issue.
What makes Native Pest Management stand out is our dedication to our customers. With our quarterly service treatment plans, if you’re unsatisfied with any service we can come back to re-service your home for no extra charge.
Native Pest Management can treat your home for fleas with the most pet friendly products. Our treatment plans go after the fleas in your home directly while preventing them from returning.
If you’re looking for “the best flea exterminator near me,” we service all over Miami-Dade county. If you’re outside the area, we also service Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, and Leon counties.
While flea control is difficult, it doesn’t have to be stressful. Contact Native Pest Management today so we can get rid of all your flea fears with our worry free pest control.
Let us give you your peace of mind back; call us today and receive your FREE flea control quote!