Is your dog itching abnormally of late? Do you spend more time with him outdoors? If you answered yes to both questions, it’s highly likely that he has fleas on his body. Since these insects move and multiply very fast, it’s very important that you know how to catch them early and get rid of them quickly before the infestation gets out of control. If you have no idea how to check your dog for fleas while at home, here are three simple ways to help you get started:
The White Towel Test
This test can be used by any dog owner, especially those with dogs that have thick or dark fur. To do the test, simply have your pet lay on a white towel (preferably on his side), and then brush his coat. If you notice dark spots or a lot of dirt falling onto the towel, it’s likely that he has fleas. Whatever you’re seeing is called flea dirt. It’s a mixture of flea poop and blood. Go ahead and dampen them while on the towel. If they change into a reddish brown color, know you’re dealing with a flea infestation.
Another way to check for fleas in dogs is by performing a visual check. However, since adult fleas are very small in size (between 1/16 inch and 1/8 inch) and they move so fast, it may not be easy for you to spot them with the naked eye unless you know what you’re looking for. In addition, if your dog’s coat is thicker and darker, it might make the whole thing even more challenging. To do a visual check, lay your dog on his back or side and start by checking his abdomen before moving to other parts of the body. If you find dark spots which look more like black pepper or dirt, it’s more likely that they’re flea poop. To confirm this, just rub them on a damp paper towel. If they turn reddish brown, your dog has fleas.
Lastly, you can buy a flea comb (if you don’t have one already) to help you check for fleas in your dog. They’re very cheap and extremely effective in catching fleas. When you use the comb to comb your dog’s coat, its double row teeth will trap the fleas between its teeth. Be sure to have a container with hot water near you where you can dip the comb after every swipe to kill those pesky insects. Overall, routinely checking your pet’s coat and skin for fleas will help you catch the infestation early before it causes more harm to your dog. The best thing about doing home checks is that they’re very easy to do and can be incorporated into your dog’s regular grooming routine. Once you’ve confirmed that your pet has fleas, you can use the natural methods we discussed earlier to get rid of them. If you’re unable to eliminate them completely, take your dog to the veterinarian immediately. After diagnosis, he or she will be able to recommend a more effective treatment plan for you.