How Do Fleas Affect My Dog?

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Dogs are arguably the most beloved animals in the world. But there is always an impending abomination for them, that is, fleas. “How do fleas affect my dog?” ask many. We all love the sight of these cheerful, furry creatures.

Fleas are nothing but blood-sucking parasites. They live on the nutrients they acquire from the host’s body. In this case, the hosts are the dogs. It is of great importance for pet owners to be attentive to their dog’s behavior and for potential signs of flea infestation.

What Are Pet Fleas?

Fleas are classified into cat fleas and dog fleas. Though both can survive on either cats or dogs, they are still classified. Dog fleas prefer dogs as their host, as the name suggests.

Dog with fleas

These small, annoying pests are ectoparasites and live on the dog’s blood. They attach themselves to the dog’s body and suck out blood and nutrients by biting into the dog’s skin like a needle.

Though their favorite hosts are dogs and even cats, they can even bite humans. They need to be taken care of very attentively and cautiously. They inflict a ton of pain and distress on our dogs due to their constant biting and sucking of blood.

Cat fleas are more prevalent and available than dog fleas. But they can attack either of them, so it is necessary to get rid of every kind of flea.

How Do I Know That My Dog Has Fleas?

Flea infestations, just like any other infestation, come with a variety of symptoms. The dog owner should be aware of these symptoms and pay close attention. It is annoying for our dogs to have fleas roaming around their bodies.

dogs, fleas, eat, groom, happy

The constant itching and the sensation of being bitten by something all day is very distressing to the dogs. Watching your dog jump around in pain and constant grooming is the first sign of a flea infestation.

Various other physical symptoms include the presence of fleas in their bedding, unbound weakness, acting crazy, and more. You, as the owner, should be very attentive to these factors. Constantly clean your dog’s bedding and check for more fleas.

Excessive Grooming from Adult Fleas

Excessive grooming is a very big symptom for identifying the presence of fleas. The basic stage of flea infestation includes constant grooming.

bedding, treat, shoreline, dog, fleas

The dog continuously finds grooming places and grooms quite aggressively. Such aggressive grooming might result in hair loss and bald spots on the skin. The owner should pay careful attention to such actions.

Sign of Fleas on Their Bedding

When infested by fleas, you will find the presence of fleas on their bedding. Fleas generally prefer room temperature for propagation, around 20–24 degrees Celsius.

This adaptability makes them potent in these dark corners, such as the dog’s bedding. Due to their small size of <1.5 millimeters, they can easily get into these places and attack the dog.

Presence of Flea Dirt on Their Bedding

Flea dirt is another predominant symptom of fleas. Flea dirt is the feces of fleas. Fleas ingest blood and nutrients from the dog’s body. So, just like any other organism, it also has a process of digestion that excretes the waste, known as “flea dirt.”

Flea dirt looks like small pepper particles, black or dark brown. The owner is advised to take action as soon as possible if flea dirt is observed. They should soon seek help from a vet or a professional.

How Do Fleas Affect My Dog?

Apart from basic symptoms, fleas can cause some pretty serious diseases too. Fleas are never a welcome candidate in an environment of pets. Thus, they need to be prevented. Fleas can make the dog suffer by inflicting itching and pain and making it weak and ill. Diseases include:


Bartonella is a species of bacteria that causes bartonellosis. The source of the contraction or the primary infection is not yet scientifically proven. But various organizations have claimed that bartonellosis in dogs has its source linked to fleas.

1979.Steven Glenn.Laboratory & Consultation Division..Other hemoprotozoan parasites such as these Babesia sp. organisms resemble P. falciparum organisms. ..Though developmentally the Babesia spp. organisms resemble Plasmodium falciparum, these parasites present several distinguishing features: they vary more in shape and in size; and they do not produce pigment.

Bartonellosis can cause several problems and can be pretty serious if left unattended. The symptoms include fever, diarrhea, rheumatism, nausea, vomiting, breathing problems, and irregular heartbeats. In general, dogs’ diseases are not that bad but can be distressing if left unattended.

Tapeworms from fleas

The occurrence of tapeworms is pretty common in dogs. As is known to all, dogs have a tendency to lick different objects. They also lick different parts of their own bodies.

One kind of grooming gives them momentary peace from any itching or discomfort. This tendency is the cause of tapeworms in dogs. Tapeworms themselves can infect fleas.


If a dog swallows a flea that was predominantly infected by a tapeworm, the dog can also be affected by that tapeworm. Tapeworms inside a dog’s digestive system will attack the intestinal linings and infect them from the inside.

We might be able to observe tapeworms from the dog’s backside, where we might witness certain unhatched eggs. If the eggs are hatched, the tapeworms might repeat the total cycle.

Anemia from fleas

Anemia is a very severe disease in both dogs and humans. Fleas have a rapid multiplication rate as they multiply in geometric progression.

Due to this property, they can quickly multiply in large numbers on a dog’s body. When so many fleas bite into a dog and suck blood, the dog suffers from low red blood cell count and anemia.

Symptoms include weakness, lethargy, pale skin and insides of the mouth, irregular breathing, and, in severe cases, even death. It would be best to address the dog’s needs through immediate veterinary care and treatment.

In severe cases, we should treat the home and the surrounding areas outside for fleas. The owner must treat the dog with anti-flea arrangements. The owner must take every step to eliminate every flea in the immediate vicinity.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis (Flea Bite Dermatitis)

Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) is a very common disease among dogs. It is an allergic condition that is caused by fleas. As mentioned earlier, fleas survive on the blood of their hosts. They suck blood by biting into the host’s skin like a needle.

These bites can cause immaculate allergies. This disease is known as flea allergy dermatitis or FAD. It is one of the most common diseases for dogs, and the symptoms include reddish marks on the skin, constant itching, bald spots, etc.

How Does a Dog Flea Bite Look Like (Sites of Bite)?

Flea bites on a dog look like any other flea bite on a human. They have red bumps on their skin, and the dog suffers from constant itching. Sometimes there might be a red circle around a dog’s flea bite. The size of these bites is pretty small and can be hard to spot.

The presence of a thick coat of fur makes these bites almost impossible to see. Whenever you observe your dog scratching its skin r grooming excessively, it is always better to look for such bites. The presence of these bites indicates a flea infestation on your dog.

How to Protect My Dog from Fleas?

Fleas are the most common problem for our furry friends. Fleas have become prevalent globally and are omnipresent in almost every household. Protection from fleas is necessary, as they not only harm your dog but can potentially harm you too.

How do fleas affect my dog?

Prevention and Treatment of Dog Fleas

Fleas can be found anywhere and at any point in time. It is an ordeal to avoid them. But various measures can help the dog get rid of the annoying fleas. Preventive measures like frequent cleaning and using anti-flea treatments might help significantly.

If the fleas are contracted, it is always advised to visit your family veterinarian. They will diagnose the problem and check for possible causes and measures that you should take.

The doctor will use different measures and applications to remove fleas and determine if the dog has acquired flea allergic dermatitis. The doctor will also remove the flea dirt from the dog’s body.

By using anti-flea shampoos or sprays, we can pull off the prevention of other fleas. The shampoo will kill the existing fleas on the dog’s body. The spray will ensure that the fleas die whenever they get in touch with the dog before biting. Flea collars can also be used to remove unwanted fleas.

It is always advised to clean your home and surrounding areas with disinfectants and anti-flea agents before letting your dog enter the house after treatment. Clean the bedding, blankets, and other dog belongings and sanitize them to eliminate fleas.

How Do I Kill Fleas in My House?

To eliminate fleas from your house, you have to follow strict guidelines from the veterinarian. It is advised to clean and disinfect every corner of the house, especially where your dog frequently visits.

Vacuuming the house regularly and keeping the surroundings clean is the owner’s job if they want to prevent fleas. The vacuum bag should be used with a flea collar and removed after use. The flea collar will kill any fleas in the vacuum bag.

Using flea sprays and essential oil sprays might also help eliminate fleas around the house. Pesticides can be used but should be used carefully and responsibly as they might harm pets.


We, as pet owners, should be responsible for our pets. It is no question that pets need a lot of care and attention. Fleas are an abomination that always haunts the existence of dogs and cats.

Fleas can make dogs suffer greatly and give them immense discomfort and pain. So we must take care of our precious buddies and consider them very important, which they are.

Keeping our houses clean and our surroundings hygienic and user-friendly should be commonplace. Thus, by practicing flea treatment, we are not providing our dogs with a healthy and fun environment and keeping ourselves safe from flea infestation.

Fleas are vicious parasites that do not care about where they get their blood, as long as it is abundant.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.