O.M.G. Is That a Flea?
Does My Dog Have Fleas?
We certainly hope your dog or cat does not have fleas, but how can you tell? Finding adult fleas is harder than you think. They are quite small, only 1/8” or so, about the size of a grain of rice. Fleas are dark reddish-brown with long legs and no wings.
If you aren’t seeing adult fleas, you should check for “flea dirt.” This is a nice way of saying “flea poop.” Gross, we know.
How to Check for Flea Dirt
Comb through several different areas of the fur. A flea comb is nice with the long, narrow tines, but you could use most anything with narrow tines to comb down to the undercoat.
Grab a paper towel and a flea comb (and your dog or cat).
Take samples of the loose fur and place those on the paper towel. Look in the loose fur for what looks like black pepper.
If you find any of those black specks, it could just be dander or regular dirt. To check if it is flea dirt, isolate a few of the black specks on the paper towel and wet your finger. Dab a wet fingertip on the black specks and press a bit.
If those black specks turn reddish, that is most likely flea dirt. The reddish color is from your pet’s blood the adult flea ingested. And then pooped out on your pet. And you have just touched it.
Go wash your hands.
Getting Rid of Fleas
If your pet does have fleas or flea dirt, you need to treat all your pets AND treat the home itself. Treating pets for fleas is relatively easy–it is the environment that is a pain. Read more on how to get rid of fleas here.