Video: How To Know If Your Dog Has Fleas

Watch the latest Alpha Paw episodes with host Bernie Zilio as she tackles your pet parent questions, along with our board of pet experts. You can watch the video and read the transcript below!

The Transcript

Bernie Zilio
It’s officially flea and tick season! But how do you know if your dog has fleas? And what can you do about it if they do…we got you covered!

Welcome back to Alpha Paw, your destination for everything dog. I’m Bernie Zilio and I’m on a mission to answer every doggone pet parent question you’ve ever had about your fur babies and today we are talking about if the ways to spot fleas on your dog.

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And fortunately, we have an expert with us here today, Dr. Ross. Dr. Ross is a seasoned veterinary professional and pet care expert. He earned his doctorate degree in veterinary medicine at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

His work has been featured in several industry-leading publications, including the Journal of Veterinary Surgery. He is our go-to vet for everything we want and needs to know about our fur babies, so welcome back to Alpha Paw Dr. Ross…

Peak Flea Season Is From May to September

Bernie Zilio
Ok Dr. Ross, so we know that for many states around the country, the most prevalent seasons for fleas and ticks are the spring and summer, or roughly from May through September.

So we are knee-deep in that right now. And I don’t think anyone wants their dog to get fleas, especially if you let your puppy sleep in your bed or on your furniture…so how can we be on the lookout for fleas…what are some symptoms?

Dr. Ross
Signs your dog may have fleas include scratching more than usual, chewing at the back, seeing live fleas crawling on its back, or black specks of flea dirt on the dog’s fur.

Bernie Zilio
Ok so live fleas crawling on your dog sounds pretty straightforward…but some dogs have longer hair or fur that makes it difficult to see these little bugs, so how can we look out for fleas on our dogs?

Dr. Ross
The first place to check is on your dog’s belly. Give your pup a good belly scratch and flip through the thinner hair of the belly.

If you see a small black bug crawling on your dog’s belly, this is likely a flea. Fleas on dogs also enjoy spending time on dogs’ backs, so you can also try flipping through the hair just above the tail to check for fleas.

Another method to check for fleas is using a flea comb. Run the flea comb along your dog’s back and sides. If your dog has fleas, you will either catch a live flea in the flea comb or find flea dirt.

Bernie Zilio
What the heck is flea dirt?

Dr. Ross
Flea dirt is essentially flea poop or digested blood from where they have been feeding on your dog. To differentiate between dirt and flea dirt, place the debris on a white paper towel and put some hydrogen peroxide on it. If the debris turns from black to red, then you have just discovered flea poop.

Bernie Zilio
That is so gross! Ok, so how do we avoid this nastiness? What are ways to prevent fleas in the first place?!

Dr. Ross
Topical and Oral preventatives, year-round, is the key to effective flea treatment. Fleas can survive in the winter months inside and around homes, and some of the worst flea infestations can be in the winter.

Bernie Zilio
This has been super helpful Dr. Ross, as always. Do you have more questions about fleas and flea preventatives? Leave them in the comment section down below.

Again I’m Bernie Zilio and this is Alpha Paw, be sure to subscribe so that you don’t miss a single doggone episode and we’ll see you next time!

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