How to Check for Fleas

How to Check for Fleas? 7 Steps (with Pictures)

Below I’ve outlined how to check for fleas. Sadly, this thought triggers an itching feeling in me: does my dog have fleas? Or is it just unfounded fear? 

Since I acquired my dog pet: my fluffy king, I have had numerous challenges. Some of them include feed selection, flea medication selection, and safety.

However, none of the above challenges with my dog has been disturbing as seeing fleas running on my pet. I tried numerous flea treatments, but the fleas always came back. 

[amazon bestseller=”Best Killer for Fleas” items=”2″ template=”table”]

How to Check for Fleas? 7 Steps (with Pictures)

To check for dog fleas on your pet, you will require the following tools; a flea comb, soaped water, and a white kitchen paper.

Step #1: Conduct a visual check on your dog

Despite that flea are small in body size, it is possible to catch a bug’s glimpse when jumping from one place to another. You might not see it on the first day you check, but if you are keen enough, you will finally set an eye on some of them.

The fleas are brown and appear fat when they have sucked blood from you or your pets. They will also jump rapidly to avoid being caught or escape harsh conditions such as water, chemicals, and hot objects.

However, if you see your dog scratching, it is time you should already consider the best flea control techniques.

Step #2: Flea Comb youth dog

Upon careful consideration, you can order a flea comb to undertake this exercise. Run the flea comb through the dog’s fur or coat.

Ensure to put adequate pressure on the flea comb to touch the dog’s skin smoothly. Check if the flea comb has picked some adult fleas or ‘flea dirt’ (flea droppings or fleas). Drown any fleas that you catch using soapy water.

Flea droppings are mainly comma-shaped, and when placed on the wet kitchen paper, they leave a red ring, signifying blood from the flea. But First: Video Courtesy of Banfield Pet Hospital

Next, some details on the flea life cycle – This will help you understand why fleas have always come back and how you can wittingly get ahead of the coming flea’s generation.

The flea life cycle is divided into four stages:

– Eggs: One adult flea can lay about 40 eggs each day. Female fleas lay eggs 24-36 hours after they take the first blood meal (flea bite). The eggs are visible to a naked eye and look pearly white, and are oval.

– Larvae – the larvae stage lasts from 5-12 days. Fleas have 3 larval stages.

– Pupa – Flea has 4 pupa stages: This is a highly protect phase of the fleas and may last up to 210 days.

– Pre-emergent adults – This stage is also referred to as the waiting stage. Notably, fleas in this stage emerge as adults if stimulated by heat, carbon dioxide, pressure, and vibration.

Step #3: Target the Entire Flea Life Cycle

Maybe you’ll require using a combination of flea treatment options to eliminate the bugs from your home.

To effectively control the fleas, you’ll need to keep your dog indoors for 2 weeks after treating him, the kernel, and his bedding. However, you can still walk with him but avoid the lawns to avoid re-infestation.

After treating the dog and house for fleas, continue vacuuming the floors. Vacuuming will help eject the flea eggs and larvae from their cocoons and thus be reached by the insecticide.

What do dog fleas look like, and does my dog have some?

Dog fleas are small brown insects that attack dogs and cats, and other animals.

  • Despite being small in body size, dog fleas can be seen using naked eyes. Also, fleas jump and hop from one host to another with their strong legs.
  • Therefore, I must have been getting it wrong as the flea treatments only provided short-lived solutions.
  • Over the years, I have learned the need to have the right information about fleas’ signs and symptoms on my dog and the useful products for controlling the bugs.
  • Surely: You would like to learn from my experience; rather than yours! I have learned how to manage my cat and the pest that affects it the hard way.
  • Therefore, read on to learn the various signs, symptoms, recommended treatments, and safety precautions to take while considering fleas on your dog.

So, how do you free your dog from fleas? After a careful analysis of expert veterinary information combined with the vast experience with dealing with my dogs, in this guide, I will aim to answer the following questions: 

Why do fleas keep coming back?

Fleas thrive excellently in warm summer months and wet spring months but may appear at any time. However, after the flea appears in your residence, getting rid of them will be a daunting task.

While you start on the journey to fight fleas in your residence and on your dog, fleas have a particular advantage that makes them very hardy. Here the particular flea advantages:

Biological advantages

Flea has very back legs with significant muscle powers. The powerful legs enable the pest to jump about 1 foot vertically and 4-5 feet horizontally. These biological features allow the flea to navigate from one host to another and hide from different insect control mechanisms.

Advanced and long life cycle

Female fleas lay many eggs, about 30 eggs, in a day, and thus have a high reproduction rate. The eggs are also tiny and can thus hide on your dog or in cracks, crevices, and carpets. The eggs’ lightweight allows the dog to carry them around your house and fall off in different locations in your residence.

Flea eggs hatch within one week, which could delay waiting for the right conditions. After hatching, the eggs turn into larvae.

The flea larvae create cocoons, and they move into them to grow into pupae, which takes about 1 week. However, fleas in the cocoon can survive for 6 months if they are not favorable to become adults. Also, a female flea can survive for about 1.5 years.

Fleas have good hiding abilities.

For each flea that you spot in your facility, there could be other hundreds hiding in different locations such as under carpets and cracks. The fleas that are hiding could be in different developmental stages: larvae, eggs, and cocoons.

Therefore, it would be helpful to use products such as the best fogger for fleas in your home when there is a major infestation.

A flea can survive without feeding.


Fleas are capable of surviving for a long time without feeding. For example, after one blood feeding, the flea can survive for one month.

Various insect controlling chemicals such as sprays and foggers are good at fighting adult fleas. However, I recommend that you use natural pest control concentrate to kill fleas in all their developmental stages.

Prevent flea re-infestation on your dog?

Step #1: Control Fleas outside the house

Do you have a lawn outside your house? That should be your first concern while you are aiming to prevent flea infestation on your dog. Lawns form an excellent residence for fleas, their eggs, and larvae.

Fleas love living in the grass, and from there, they can hop and jump onto any animal, including you and your dog, that passes on the lawn.

Therefore, you should cut the grass short to enable heat from the sun to get to the roots. Such a condition would make the fleas uncomfortable, and thus fleas would not hide there.

Also, you can sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth (DE) on the lawn. The Diatomaceous Earth would break the fleas’ skins, absorb its moisture and thus kill them. Further, sprinkle the powder in the pet’s house and around your house.

Step #2: Treat you Dog to fleas

After tackling the fleas from outside your house, it is now time to kill or prevent any fleas that would like to make your dog their host.

There are many products available to treat fleas on your dog and cats. Ensure to read online buyer reviews and talk to your vet to learn the best practices for flea prevention and control.

Despite that you might consider cats and dogs as almost equals, it is critical to note that some dog flea treatment chemicals can harm your cat. Therefore, please consult with your vet, read label instructions, and adhere to them!

My Recommended flea prevention products?

1. Frontline Plus for Dog – Best Flea Shampoo

If you need to eliminate the fleas on your dog thoroughly – with a dog flea shampoo, particularly at stages of their life cycle, you should try Frontline Plus! 

Frontline Plus falls under the topical flea treatments that are available in the market. With fipronil and s-methoprene as its active ingredients, Frontline Plus is rapid and longer-lasting in action against fleas and ticks at all life stages

Fipronil is a slow-acting poison and a broad-spectrum insecticide that disturbs the flea’s central nervous system. The fipronil and s-methoprene ingredients are deposited in the dog’s sebaceous glands and are regularly sprayed in the dog’s coat.

Frontline Plus offers protection for your dog against fleas for 30 days. Also, the product is labeled and is actually safe for nursing and pregnant dogs.

However, it is critical to follow all the label instructions for maximum safety. Also, consider the age of the dog while purchasing the product.

Note: In case of overdosing the Frontline Plus on your dog, call the veterinarian without delay.

2. Adams Plus Shampoo with Precor  

How about you bathe your dog with a shampoo that will leave the fleas dead, your dog clean and shining? Adams Plus Shampoo will effectively kill the fleas in all their life stages and leave your dog happy.

The product is enriched with aloe, lanolin, coconut extract, and oatmeal and will thus leave your dog flea-free and shine.

Remember, we talked about the flea life cycle and how to get ahead of the fleas? Adams Plus Shampoo with Precor will inhibit the eggs from hatching for 4 weeks and help break the fleas’ life cycle.

The product has Precor (an IGR) that will kill eggs before they become adult fleas. It contains Piperonyl Butoxide, S-Methoprene, and Pyrethrins that will burst the fleas in all their life stages.


Adams Plus Shampoo with Precor is labeled safe for cats, kittens, dogs, and puppies!

Also, Adams Plus Shampoo with Precor will protect your dog against fleas for 28 days. However, the vets do not recommend the product for puppies below 8 weeks.

3. Vet’s Home, Flea and Tick Spray – Best dog flea spray

Do you need a non-toxic solution for the bugging fleas, ticks, and mosquitos? Vet Best Flea will kill all the flea eggs and larvae on your dog and in your home.

Also, to spraying your dog, the product will be effective on the dog bedding and house. The flea spray is a favorite of many pet owners because it lacks dangerous chemicals. True to its name, Vet’s flea spray can be used on furniture, bedding, and carpets.

Vet’s flea spray is made up of natural active ingredients like clove extract and peppermint oil. You’ll spray the dog on its coats, rub the skin until it gets to the roots of the fur.

Do I Need To Flea Treat My Indoor Dogs?

Despite the that your pets are always indoors, fleas will attack it like any other roaming pet. Notably, fleas, like any other insects, will jump into your dog’s kernel at any time, and thus, you need to take safety control measures.

Many wild animals such as foxes, squirrels, and even rats may carry fleas. Also, wild and outdoor cats carry fleas, and when they pass near your homestead, they drop the fleas, their eggs, and larvae. Then, the fleas jump onto any human being or animal to reach your indoor dog.

If there are some critters in your house, then they can carry fleas to the indoor dog. Despite that you may not set eyes on the mice, they could drop the fleas and their eggs in the house. The eggs would hatch and attach themselves to another host, the indoor cat or dog.

Also, since fleas love warm atmospheres, they will jump on your clothes when you walk around your yard and drop into the house to attack your dog. Therefore: 

[thrive_text_block color=”note” headline=”] Despite that your dog is always indoors, they can get fleas through various methods that include the fleas jumping into their kernel or being carried by a host to the house. Some of the hosts could include mice, wild cats, and human beings. [/thrive_text_block]

It is important to install various flea prevention methods to safeguard your dog from flea infestation. Treat your indoor dog and cat as often as you would treat any pet roaming around your yard.

Safety Precautions for Handling Flea Control Products

#1: Time is of Essence!

Ensure you control fleas when it is most critical before a major infestation occurs. For example, you should note that the flea problem will be worst in the warm-weather months while tick will hit you more in spring and summer.

Therefore, in addition to controlling the fleas on an all-year-round basis, you should have extra precautionary flea control measures for the seasons that the fleas execute their major infestation.

#2: Consult your Vet

Professional advice from your vet on various flea control methods is critical for your safety and that of your fluffy friend – also DIY flea control

Particular emphasis on vet advice should be laid if your dog is sick, old, a puppy, nursing or pregnancy, or under different flea medications.

The vet will check your dog’s records and history to recommend the most appropriate flea control method.

#3: Read and adhere to product label instructions

You should note that some flea control chemicals can become dangerous positions if used in the wrong way. Therefore, always read the product label instructions and follow them to the letter.

This could include checking your dog’s age, avoiding overdosing, and avoiding the dangerous combination of flea control products.

#4: Use protective gear

To protect yourself against hazardous chemical reaction with your body, you should use protective equipment such as gumboots and gloves while treating your fluffy friend.

However, always check the product label directions to ensure you note all the safety requirements outlined for you to follow. Some of the bad reactions can include diarrhea, depression, and loss of appetite.

If you observe some of the above reactions, you should call your vet for advice on the best actions to take to save your dog or cat.

#5: Yards, floors, and carpets

Your pet is now flea free. What next? It would help if you now countered the fleas and inside and outside your house – use yard flea sprays

For maximum safety, contact your vet to advise the best indoor flea control, a method for your children and pets.

However, if you have a major flea infestation, you should use flea foggers. However, ensure that you adhere to all the safety precautions.

#6: Vacuum your house and carpets daily.

Fleas hide in cracks, crevices, under furniture and carpet. Therefore, you should vacuum the house daily to eject the fleas, eggs, and larvae from their hideouts. 

Vacuuming will help eject the flea larvae from their cocoons. Notably, the larvae stage of the fleas is disturbed by pressure and excessive heat. Therefore, when you vacuum, you will stimulate the larvae to move out of their cocoons and come into contact with the insecticide.

Remember to wash the vacuum canister and dispose of the vacuum bag. Further, clean the dog bedding and sprinkle borax or diatomaceous earth in their kernel.  


The outdoor space could also host some fleas dropped by your pets. Therefore, treat the yard and fallen leaves with a natural flea treatment to eliminate fleas and ticks.