how to check pets for fleas

Vector graphic of a dog

Stay ahead of itching, scratching, reddish specks, and flea poop

Fleas are invasive, irritating, and spread disease, so we always recommend year-round flea protection for your dog or cat to help protect your entire family. If you suspect your itchy BFF is infested, here’s how you can know for sure. We’re here for health, happiness, and effective flea and tick control for the pet you love.

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Know your enemy and create a plan

Vector graphic of a flea

  1. Know a flea’s favorite places
    Fleas often settle down to feed in furry areas like necks, ears, and hindquarters (as vets like to say, ears and rears). They also enjoy nooks and crannies, including in the armpits and groin, at the base of the tail, and inside folds of skin.
  2. Go hunting for signs of fleas
    Using a flea comb, comb your pet’s hair from back to front to get a good look at their skin. You’re looking for
  • Areas of red, irritated, or broken skin from scratching
  • Small red-brown fleas, living or dead
  • Smaller black specks called flea dirt (flea poop)

If you find specks, but you’re not sure what they are, put them on a paper towel and add a drop of water. Flea dirt is digested blood, and will turn reddish brown. Yum!

  1. Don’t be sure you’ve found them all
    A female flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day. So even if you’re only seeing dead fleas or flea dirt on your pet, it’s pretty likely your BFF still has active fleas - and any other pets in the house do, too. Unfortunately, in addition to treating your pets, you’re going to need to treat your house, too. Fleas can hide in your home where pets hang out even during the winter months. See more about flea prevention

  2. Flea and tick prevention is the cure
    Wash your hands thoroughly. Then talk to your vet about solutions, including year-round flea and tick prevention for your pet.

When to call the vet

Whether you’ve got an active flea infestation, or don’t have an infestation — yet — and really, really want to avoid one, we’re here with year-round flea and tick protection for your pet. Talk with your veterinary team about the right parasite prevention for your pet’s age, need, breed, and lifestyle.

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