Diagnose, Treat, and Prevent Fleas in Your Dog

dogIt’s never pleasant to see your dog miserably scratching, licking, and chewing more than normal on certain parts of his or her body. If you notice your pup exhibiting these signs of restlessness, shaking his or her head and scratching his ears, a flea infestation is most likely the culprit. In fact, fleas are so active that you can sometimes even see them moving around on your dog’s body. Unfortunately, this also means that fleas can easily hop from one dog’s body to another. As you can imagine, this can be a recipe for disaster in a dog daycare setting!

If you suspect your dog may have fleas, there are a few steps you can take to make a diagnosis and begin treatment.

  1. Check your dog’s armpits and groin area for large flea populations. The flat-bodied, dark brown bloodsuckers favor these warm and protected areas.
  2. Inspect your pup’s ears for signs of irritation, redness, and scratching. It’s not uncommon for a dog to shake his head or scratch his ears to relieve himself.
  3. Give your dog a full-body examination and look for hair loss, red and bumpy skin, black spots on the skin, and scabbing.
  4. Brush your dog with a flea comb to catch and pull fleas hiding under his coat on the back and legs.
  5. Give your dog a flea bath to ease her discomfort. It’s important to use a shampoo that will not only remove the fleas, but will kill them, too.

If you identify any of the above symptoms in your pup and they persist despite your efforts to sooth them, call your veterinarian to discuss the next steps. As a responsible pet owner, it’s your duty to make sure your dog is protected so that fleas don’t become a problem in the future. Sentinel, Frontline, Advantage, and Revolution are a few of the more popular medications veterinarians recommend for the prevention of fleas and ticks. When you treat your pup monthly, you’ll rest easy knowing your four-legged friend doesn’t have to endure the incessant itching and scratching or the diseases fleas and ticks can inflict.

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