Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

How do I know if my dog or cat has fleas?

Fleas are the most common external parasite that can affect your dog or cat. Here, our Clemmons vet explains how to spot fleas on your pet and what you can do to get rid of fleas.


What are fleas?

Fleas are an external parasite that depend upon a host animal for their survival. Once fleas find your pet, the adult fleas will reproduce and thrive on your dog, and in your home, until you break their lifecycle. 

What signs of flea infestation should I look for?

Dogs and cats that are allergic to the protein in flea saliva, will itch or scratch as soon as a flea bites their skin. A single flea bite can cause pets to scratch excessively and become agitated.

As well as itching, red pimples or bumps on your pet's groin, belly, under the legs, or at the base of their tail may be a sign that your pet has fleas. Hair loss and dry skin due to scratching may also be a sign of fleas on your dog or cat.

Leaving fleas untreated can lead to lesions and infection, or even develop into more severe diseases.

How can I check my pet for fleas?

To look for fleas, comb or brush your pet carefully, regularly examining the brush or comb for adult fleas. During grooming, be sure to examine thinly haired areas, like your pet's abdomen, for signs of fleas.

Adult fleas are small, brown and easy to see with the naked eye. However, when checking your pet for signs of fleas, also keep an eye out for flea feces (flea dirt). Flea dirt looks similar to black pepper or tiny grains of sand that turn red when wet. 

Have your pet stand over a white towel or sheet while you groom them. This will make the dark flea dirt easy to spot as it falls onto the fabric while your pet is being groomed.

What if I can’t find any fleas, but my pet is still scratching?

Bring your dog or cat to the vet if they seem uncomfortable but there are no signs of fleas. Veterinarians can administer a skin test to check for flea allergies, and also test your pet for other possible allergies. 

If my cat or dog does have fleas, how do I get rid of them?

Effective treatment options to prevent or eliminate fleas are available from your vet and include powders, sprays, shampoos and topical liquids. Your vet may prescribe creams and antibiotics in severe cases.

Prevention and prompt treatment of fleas are the best ways to ensure that your dog or cat doesn't develop more serious issues down the road. Speak to your Clemmons vet about flea prevention options.

Flea prevention is part of our annual Wellness Plans. Choose the Wellness Plan that's right for your pet.

Signs That Your Pet Has Fleas | Winston-Salem Vet

Looking for a vet in
Winston-Salem area?

We're always accepting new patients, so contact our veterinary hospital today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

Related Articles View All

What to Do About Diarrhea in Dogs

Dog diarrhea is a messy problem most pet parents find themselves dealing with at some point. So, what causes diarrhea in dogs and how can you stop it? Read on to find out.

Kitten First Vet Visit - What to Expect & What it Will Cost

Have you welcomed a beautiful new kitten into your heart and home? If so, early veterinary care can help to set your tiny fur baby on the path to excellent life-long health. Today, our Clemmons vets discuss kitten first vet visits.

What Should You Do if Your Dog is Losing Their Hair?

Is your dog experiencing patchy hair loss, bald patches, or all-over thinning of the coat? Could be allergies, seasonal shedding, or more severe conditions such as alopecia. Our Clemmons vets delve into the topic of dog hair loss in dogs and what to do.

Why Constipation Is a Serious Issue for Dogs

If your four-legged friend is constipated it could be due to something as simple as a change in diet, but constipation can also be a sign of a very serious health concern! Our Clemmons vets explain why constipation in dogs should never be ignored.

Excessive Panting In Dogs - Causes & When To Be Concerned

Your dog hasn't been running or playing but you notice that they are panting heavily. Why might this be happening? Today our Clemmons vets discuss causes of excessive panting in dogs and when to be concerned.

Looking for a vet in Clemmons? Get in touch today!

We are always thrilled to welcome new patients into our veterinary family, so contact our office today to book your first appointment with our team.

Request Appointment

Book Online (336) 766-8950