Dog Health

How to Handle Dog Fleas

How to Handle Dog Fleas

How to Handle Dog Fleas

Despite dog fleas being overwhelmingly common, many of us can’t help but feel guilty if we find our pet is suffering with these annoying pests. We worry that we may be responsible, questioning the level of care we are providing. However, many pet owners will have to deal with an infestation at some point, and it is generally not caused by poor care. 

Here, Pedigree® provides some guidance on the causes of dog fleas and what you can do to fight them.

What are dog fleas?

Dog fleas are small parasites that feed on canine blood. This can weaken dogs, spread disease, and even cause allergic reactions if the infestation is not dealt with.

A dog flea’s life cycle typically lasts between 3 and 6 weeks in household conditions. In this time, dog fleas can lay hundreds of eggs, meaning that dealing with infestations quickly is vital. 

How do dog fleas spread?

Dog fleas can be a problem even for the cleanest homes and pets. Dog fleas spread through contact; strong back legs enable them to jump on to a new host with ease, often from another dog. Dog fleas can also survive in the environment without a host for months, meaning that they can jump on to your dog while out and about too. 

What are the symptoms of dog fleas?

If you dog is suffering with a flea infestation, they may exhibit some of these symptoms:


  • Itching
  • Chewing
  • Hair loss, especially in concentrated patches
  • Visible fleas

You can check if your dog is infested using a fine-toothed comb, which will catch dog fleas and eggs in your pet’s fur. These will generally look like black specks; however, if they turn a reddish brown when wet it is likely they are dog fleas.

How to prevent dog fleas?

When taking your dog outdoors, there’s always an element of luck, as you cannot control the cleanliness of this environment. 

Cleaning your home and dog regularly is helpful though, as this will help to remove any dog fleas or eggs, reducing the risk of infestation and shortening any outbreaks that do occur. Vacuuming and cleaning soft furnishings is especially important, as these are the areas in which fleas are most likely to live. 

How to get rid of a dog flea infestation?

If your dog is unfortunate enough to become infested, dog flea shampoo can be used to fight the pests. This is easily available; however, ensure that you use a shampoo designed for dogs and not any other animal for safety and effectiveness. 

Due to fleas’ ability to live in the environment for months without a host, infestations often recur. This means that you’ll probably need to treat your dog more than once. The risk of recurrence can be reduced by cleaning your home thoroughly. This includes vacuuming furniture, floor and skirting boards, as well as washing all soft furnishings. 


Dog fleas can be a frustrating pest to deal with, but it’s important to remember that they can be treated. If you’re struggling with frequent infestations and are unsure about how to proceed, consult a vet for professional advice.