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 and this means that human beings eventually get infested.
To human beings, they cause diseases like bubonic plague and typhus fever and to the 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
Step 1 – Inspect Your Pets
The following are signs that you should watch out for if your pets have been infested by fleas.
The very obvious sign that your pet has been infested by fleas is prolonged and repeated scratching your pets are doing. The main 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) so as 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.
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. For humans, they mostly appear around the waist, armpits, breasts, groin, elbows or knees. 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 mean that your pet is not producing sufficient blood to compensate blood lost to fleas.
6. Dodgy colored dandruff
In human beings fleas causes 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 small walk, remove them and inspect for fleas. You can use flea bombs to exterminate the flea from your house.
Ensure that you are wearing white cotton socks. They will provide protection 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 actually confirm your worst fears, that your pet is actually infested and in turn, transmitted flea to the house.
Flea dirt is the name given to the small visible droppings of fleas. Most of the flea dirt is found on your rugs and carpets or on 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 rug or carpet. Flea eggs are small, white and oval shaped.
Remember to have gloves on your hands as a health precaution. Flea dirt is composed 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, in the groin area, along the length of the lower side and behind the hind legs.
Step 3 – Inspect Your Yard
1. Backyard specks
Just like the indoors 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 small walk, remove them and inspect 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’ body. 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 just place a lamp near it. 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 in 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.
- Comparison of Two Techniques for the Detection of Flea Faeces – NCBI
- 5 Signs You (and Your Pet) Have Fleas and Don’t Know It | petMD
- Dermatitis caused by Ctenocephalides felis (cat flea) in human – NCBI