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Pet Won’t Stop Scratching? Here’s a Guide for Signs of Fleas


Fleas are small, wingless insects that feed on the blood of mammals and birds. When they infest your pet's fur, they bite them to obtain their blood meal. These bites can cause intense itching and lead to a range of symptoms in your pet. It's important to note that while fleas prefer animals as hosts, they can also bite humans.

Happy Dog without Fleas
Pet parents dread the idea of fleas on their animals

Common Symptoms of Flea Infestation

  1. Scratching: Excessive scratching is one of the most noticeable signs of flea infestation in pets. If your furry friend seems unable to find relief from their itchiness and constantly scratches or chews at their skin, it could be a clear indication of fleas. Pet scratching will usually be the first indicator of any infestation.
  2. Hair Loss: Flea bites can cause hair loss in pets, especially in severe cases or if your pet has an allergic reaction to the flea saliva. Keep an eye out for patches of thinning hair or bald spots on your pet's body. Scratching pets can literally rip their hair out trying to soothe their itchy bites if left unchecked.
  3. Red Bumps or Rashes: Fleabites often result in red bumps or rashes on the skin. These may appear as small raised bumps or clusters of inflamed areas on your pet's belly, groin area, or around the base of their tail.
  4. Visible Fleas: In some cases, you may actually spot fleas crawling through your pet's fur. These tiny brown insects are fast-moving and can be challenging to catch. If you see fleas on your pet, it's crucial to take immediate action to prevent further infestation.
  5. Flea Dirt: Flea dirt, also known as flea feces, is another sign of fleas. It looks like small black specks or pepper-like flakes on your pet's skin or fur. To determine if it is flea dirt, place some of the specks onto a wet paper towel – if they turn reddish-brown, it confirms the presence of fleas. In some cases you can also see the pupae or oval-shaped eggs of the fleas.

The Dangers of Flea Infestations

While fleabites may seem like a minor annoyance, an untreated flea infestation can have serious consequences for your pet's health. Fleas are master hitchhikers and can jump long distances to infect new hosts. Here are some potential risks associated with fleas:

  • Anemia: Severe flea infestations can lead to anemia in pets, especially in young or weak animals. Fleas consume blood as their primary food source, and a heavy infestation can cause significant blood loss over time.
  • Skin Infections: Constant scratching due to fleabites can break the skin and create openings for bacteria to enter, leading to secondary bacterial infections.
  • Allergic Reactions: Some pets are allergic to flea saliva. Even a single bite from a flea can trigger an allergic reaction that results in intense itching, redness, and inflammation.
  • Transmission of Diseases: Fleas are known carriers of various diseases and parasites such as tapeworms and Bartonella (the bacteria responsible for cat scratch fever). If your pet ingests a flea while grooming themselves, they may become infected with these harmful organisms.

Treating Flea Infestations

If you suspect that your pet has fleas based on the signs mentioned above, it's essential to take prompt action to alleviate their discomfort and prevent further infestation. Here are some steps you should take:

  1. Consult Your Veterinarian: Schedule a visit to your veterinarian to confirm the presence of fleas and seek their guidance on the best treatment options for your pet. They may recommend topical treatments, oral medications, or flea collars depending on your pet's specific needs.
  2. Treat Your Pet: Administer the recommended flea treatment as directed by your veterinarian. Follow the instructions carefully and ensure that you continue the treatment for the entire prescribed duration to eradicate both adult fleas and their eggs.
  3. Treat Your Home: Fleas can lay eggs in your pet's bedding, carpets, furniture, and other areas of your home. Thoroughly clean and vacuum these areas to remove any flea eggs or larvae. Consider using a flea spray or fogger specifically designed for indoor use to eliminate any remaining fleas.
  4. Prevent Future Infestations: Regularly groom your pet with a flea comb to check for any signs of fleas. Additionally, use preventive measures such as monthly flea preventatives recommended by your veterinarian to protect your furry friend from future infestations.
  5. Clean or Throw Away Pet Bedding: By cleaning or tossing pet beds you are typically removing the number one source of fleas in the home. You can first try cleaning with hot soapy water, followed by tossing in the dryer on high for an hour. This will quickly kill all eggs and fleas in the cat/ dog bed.


If your pet won't stop scratching, it's crucial to investigate the underlying cause. Fleas are a common culprit behind excessive itching in pets, so it's essential to be aware of the signs of fleas and take appropriate action promptly. By understanding these signs and following proper treatment protocols, you can help alleviate your pet's discomfort and prevent further infestations in the future. Remember, consulting with your veterinarian is always recommended for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment options.

Now that you know the signs of fleas, if you are still struggling with fleas after these tips, give All U Need Pest Control a call today and allow the professionals to rid your home of fleas!

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