How to Tell If You Have Fleas

How to Tell If You Have Fleas in Your House

It is pretty obvious and common for pets to catch fleas and eventually show up at home with a full load of them.

  • Our houses get infested too from pets, which bring them indoors, which means that human beings eventually get plagued.
  • To human beings, they cause diseases like bubonic plague and typhus fever, and to pets, they cause anemia and introduce tapeworms to them.

In this post, I’ve discussed how to tell if you have fleas. Related: Home Flea Control Sprays

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How to Tell If You Have Fleas in Your House 

Step 1 – Inspect Your Pets 

The following are signs that you should watch out for if fleas have infested your pets.

1. Scratching

The undeniable sign that fleas have infested your pet is prolonged and repeated scratching your pets are doing. The primary source of food for fleas is blood, and it is only obtained by biting.

Pets, in turn, retaliate by scratching themselves and repeated grooming (for cats) to remove the fleas off their bodies.

The discomfort caused by the fleas makes the animal have abnormal scratching of the body, licking and biting the affected parts.

2. Restlessness 

Due to the increased scratching and itching, the pets are always at bay due to the irritable little assailants. Behavioral changes are easily noticeable. For cats, they tend to be moody, low energy, and excessive grooming.

3. Welts and bumps 

Flea bites are irritable.  These bites appear as small red bumps with a red halo at the center. They mostly appear around the waist, armpits, breasts, groin, elbows, or knees for humans. These small red bumps are called welts and bumps.

4. Hair loss 

When your pet is infested with fleas, it resorts to scratching and rubbing against the ground, carpet, and other surfaces to ease the itching.

Excessive scratching caused by the nagging bites of fleas leads to loss of hair. Animals may pull out some of their hair due to continuous biting and licking of fleabites.

In dogs, Alopecia is hair loss caused by some strains of the flea. It affects the dog’s immune, lymphatic, and endocrine systems.

5. Anemia or pale gums 

The diet of fleas is mainly blood. Fleas can consume up to 15 times their body weight. This results in reduced numbers of red blood cells.

Pale gums mean reduced red blood cells. Reduced red blood cells indicate that your pet is not producing sufficient blood to compensate for blood loss to fleas.

6. Dodgy colored dandruff 

In human beings, fleas cause welts and bumps. In pets, you are likely to spot breaking skin with sores on their bodies that are black/red in color.

To check the dodgy colored dandruff, run a flea comb through the animal’s coat. A flea comb has a close set of teeth specifically designed to trap fleas.

Run it on the animal several times. An infested coat will leave small black spots or brown spots on the teeth of the comb.

Related: Yard Flea Sprays

Step 2 – Inspect Your House

1. Sock riders 

Spend at least 10 minutes walking around the house with the socks being as high as possible. Fleas will catch the socks looking for a meal. After the short walk, could you remove them and inspect them for fleas? You can use flea bombs to exterminate the flea from your house.

Ensure that you are wearing white cotton socks. They will protect from the bites. White socks are suitable as it will be easy to spot the dark specks from the fleas.

In the case that you are wandering bare feet, you will experience some bites. Flea bites cause little swelling and only have one small puncture hole. They also cause intense scratching and hence red welts and bumps.

2. Powdered deposits and flea eggs 

The powdered deposits are also called flea dirt. Flea dirt will confirm your worst fears, that your pet is infested and, in turn, transmitted flea to the house.

Flea dirt is the name given to the small visible droppings of fleas. Most flea dirt is found on your rugs and carpets or the floor of your home.

To ascertain that it is flea dirt, you can rub a damp towel over them, and if reddish streaks are left behind, that is flea dirt. Check the electronic flea combs here.

Fleas lay eggs in the rugs and carpets because of the relative safety. Run your fingers through the fibers of the carpet. Flea eggs are small, white, and oval-shaped.

Remember to have gloves on your hands as a health precaution. Flea dirt is composed of flea fecal matter that is usually digested blood and other waste. It resembles finely ground black pepper.

The most common places to find flea dirt are around the tail, groin area, length of the lower side, and behind the hind legs.

Step 3 – Inspect Your Yard 

1. Backyard specks 

Just like the indoor procedure, spend at least 10 minutes walking around your backyard. Ensure that you are wearing white cotton socks with the socks being as high as possible. Fleas will catch the socks looking for a meal.

After the short walk, could you remove them and inspect them for fleas? They will be in the form of black pepper specks. Those dingy places are most likely the places where your pets contracted the pests from.

How to Get Rid of the Fleas

Now we have an idea of what we are dealing with and signs to watch out for. So we can talk about the removing process. Here are a few recommended ways of eliminating fleas from your pets.

1. Flea bath 

It involves bathing your pet in specialized shampoos that cover most of the pets’ bodies. This leaves the fleas with nowhere to hide hence killing them.

2. Water Trap 

This involves mixing warm water with non-toxic dishwashing soap and putting in a bowl. Place a point source of light directly to the bowl with water.

You can leave a candle in the middle or place a lamp near it. Please leave it in a dark flea-infested area overnight.

3. Brewer’s yeast 

This is a yeast that has an ingredient used in making bread, wine, and beer. Put it directly into your pet’s food. Enquire about the correct dosage from your vet.

4. Sticky Traps 

These non-toxic alternatives trap fleas using a sticky adhesive. The adhesive stops the bugs from moving, killing them through dehydration and hunger

5. Flea Comb 

They have teeth specifically designed to pick up fleas from your pet’s fur. Some well-designed combs pick up even larvae and eggs.


  1. Comparison of Two Techniques for the Detection of Flea Faeces – NCBI
  2. 5 Signs You (and Your Pet) Have Fleas and Don’t Know It | petMD
  3. Dermatitis caused by Ctenocephalides felis (cat flea) in human – NCBI