Flea Bites on Dogs: What They Look Like and What You Should Do


Fleas are one of the most common pests that dogs can get. They are communicable to humans and can be very hard to remove from your home once they have taken up residence. If you have a pet that you think might have fleas, it is in the best interest of you and your pet to identify and remove these pests right away.

Knowing what flea bites look like and knowing how to treat fleas when you have spotted them is key to preventing them from infesting your home and all your other pets. Fleas are tiny parasites, but they are quite easy to spot, and you can learn the common signs and symptoms of these little invaders before they take over your home.

If you are ready to learn more about flea bites on dogs and how to spot and treat them, you need to keep reading.

flea bites on dogs

What Do Flea Bites on Dogs Look Like?

Fleas can cause your dog to feel very unwell, and they can make them quite uncomfortable. As their owner, it’s important to recognize what flea bites on the skin look like.

Small Dots on the Skin

In dogs, flea bites will appear like small, red, raised dots on the skin. They are very small compared to other insect bites, but they are quite recognizable since they are so tiny. Your dog will likely scratch and fuss at their coat due to the fleas. Fleas can sometimes even be visible on the skin when you pull back the hair to look for signs of flea infestation.

Not every dog will have a strong allergic reaction to flea bites, and you might not see a lot of scratching or fussing out of every dog with fleas. Getting a flea comb and looking at your dog’s skin carefully can be a big help in identifying fleas if your dog isn’t exhibiting symptoms of fleas. You will want to check the belly and the insides of the legs first, but fleas can take up residence throughout your dog’s haircoat with ease.

Red Skin Underneath their Coat

Fleas often make the skin quite red, and even if the small bites are not visible, you will likely see an overall redness under your dog’s coat. Some dogs will also lose hair or get scabs and hot spots from their flea infestation. You might also see flea dirt, which is brown and scaly, on your dog’s skin. Looking for flea dirt and redness is usually the easiest way to spot fleas in dogs early enough to kill them before they start to make your dog really uncomfortable.

What Do You Do About Fleas?

If your dog has fleas, there are certain things that you should do to treat and prevent them. The main methods are listed below:

Wash Your Dog

The first order of business when you have detected fleas is to wash your dog. You do not even have to use a flea shampoo since water alone will kill the existing fleas that are adults living in your dog’s coat. This process will not kill or remove all the larvae and eggs that have been laid by the adults. You will still have to take your dog to the vet and get flea medication if you want to completely eradicate the flea problem.

Keep Your Dog on Flea Treatment and Prevention

Your dog should be kept on a regular flea treatment and prevention protocol after you have killed the existing infestation. It can take up to a week to kill all the remaining eggs that might have been waiting to hatch, and you don’t want to start the cycle all over again in another few weeks when the flea treatment wears off. Keeping indoor/ outdoor dogs on a consistent annual flea prevention program is easy with help from your vet. Even dogs that live entirely indoors can get fleas when they are at the dog park or playing outside, so it is usually a good rule of thumb to treat all dogs for fleas.

Treat Every Pet in Your Home for Fleas

Make sure that you treat every pet in your home as well. Fleas are very eager to find new hosts, and once one dog or cat in your home has fleas, the others are very likely to get them as well. Treating just one pet in your home is not likely to remove the flea problem for good. You can continuously re-infect the animals in your home by neglecting to take care of getting rid of the fleas in your carpet.

Fumigate Your Home

Lastly, you will need to fumigate your home to remove the fleas that are living in your carpets and other nooks and crannies. You can buy flea bombs and other kinds of flea treatment at your local home improvement store or even the grocery store in most cases. Make sure that you have some place for you and your pets to go while you are treating the house for fleas since the agents that are used to kill them are not good for people or pets to be exposed to. You can also call an exterminator if your home is very large and you think that you cannot get rid of all the fleas on your own.

See a Vet if Your Dog Has Flea Bites

Even if you keep your dog indoors all the time, they can still get fleas if they are not kept current on a flea prevention medication. You will want to know what to look for when you think your dog has fleas so that you and the other pets in your home do not get them as well.

Always make sure that you consider fleas a risk and keep your pet current on their flea prevention protocol year-round. If you think that your dog has flea bites, you will want to head to the vet to get flea medication and potentially to have your dog groomed to remove the existing fleas from their coat. Contact our team at Orlando Vets if you have any additional questions or if you would like to schedule an appointment. We are always here to help you and your pet!


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