9 Signs That Your Dog Has Fleas

It starts out with an innocent scratch behind the ear. Or maybe your dog has started chewing on their paws. Maybe they could even be licking their haunches or dragging themselves across the floor in desperate fashion. It starts with a scratch and then it gets worse…and even worse. Until eventually your pup is scratching nonstop, desperately trying to get the itching to go away. But it won’t, at least not until the fleas are gone. Wait – uh oh – did we just say fleas? Yep, we sure did! If you’re here because you’re asking the question “what are the signs that my dog has fleas”, then we’re sorry to hear that you’re even concerned that you may have this problem at all. Fleas are annoying, irritating critters that can cause a lot of problems – more than just being annoyingly itchy for your pup.

There are many different reasons why you should get rid of your pup’s fleas if any – and we’re going to talk about all of those today. We’ll also be talking about how to get rid of the fleas! To be honest, when my own dog started scratching himself, I was left wondering why it could be. Then I started looking up the signs that my dog has fleas – just like you are today. Well, I am here to help, so let’s get right to it!

Why Should I Get Rid of Fleas Immediately?

signs that my dog has fleas

In general, fleas do not cause or pose any real risks to human health. However, they do cause itching, and if itching occurs for an extended period of time it can eventually cause infections. These infections can prove to be problematic in the long run, which is why it’s a good idea to treat for fleas as soon as possible. On top of itching and infection, the presence of fleas can lead to aggravation and people who have respiratory conditions, issues, and complications. Sometimes, your pet can also have allergic reactions to fleas, or at least their saliva that is. Additionally, you may also have to worry about your pet developing anemia due to the loss of blood from frequent flea feeding. However, for them to develop anemia, the infestation of fleas would’ve already gotten to a point where it is certainly severe.

Generally, you don’t want to allow your flea infestation to get this bad – and this is exactly the reason why I decided to learn about the signs that my dog has fleas. It’s really so much better to take care of the situation before it gets worse.

What Are the Signs That My Dog Has Fleas?

Well, now that we have talked about why it is so important to get fleas treated, it is time to talk about the signs of a flea infestation. I learned a lot of stuff when I first started googling or researching signs that my dog has fleas. I’m here to share all the stuff that I’ve learned with you, so that you too can take care of your problem as soon as you recognize the issue. There are tons of different signs that your dog might have fleas. Most of them are easy to recognize, which is rather fortunate because otherwise it could be difficult to deal with. Most of the information that I am going to share with you today is what I learned when I was doing my research for the signs that my dog has fleas. I hope that all of this information will be able to help you to diagnose or recognize an issue in your home.

If you’re ready to learn about the signs and symptoms, then let’s get right to it! 

Check the Dog’s Behavior

Generally, the first thing that people notice that makes them suspect that their pet has fleas is if the animal is scratching themselves frequently. Therefore, if you notice that your dog or your cat is scratching themselves frequently, you may want to take a  closer look to see whether they actually have any fleas. To inspect your pet for these pesky insects,  start inspecting by moving their fur around. This will allow you  to get a peek at their skin underneath. Chances are, if they do have fleas you will be able to catch a peek of one or two of them – or maybe even more – as you move the fur about. Sometimes, you may even be able to notice them hopping around. Unfortunately, they don’t always do this which is why it is better to simply take a closer look by moving your pet’s fur around.

Dogs that are often restless can also be a sign that they have or are dealing with an infestation. And so, if your dog is constantly moving around and scratching themselves and cannot seem to get comfortable, check them because they might just have fleas.

Look at the Skin and Coat

It’s really difficult to spot fleas because of how fast they can move and jump. If you want to actually see them on your dog, you may have to really take a close look because you might otherwise miss them. Fleas are fast and they can jump rather high even when they are adults. Their bodies are flat and dark brown in appearance, sometimes almost black. However, the more they feed the lighter their color gets.

If you feel as though you won’t be able to catch these jumping fleas in action, don’t worry because you can still find them on your own. All you have to do is turn your dog over on to their back then check the places where these insects love to hide. Check places such as the armpits or even the groin which are two different areas that fleas love to frequent. Both areas are warm and also protected which is why large populations of fleas might enjoy hiding there. Furthermore, you can also check your pup’s ears for any signs of redness, scratching, dirt, or blood. Generally, all of these can be considered signs because they certainly were signs that my dog has fleas – or had them!

If you check your pup’s skin especially on their groin, belly, or the base of their tail and it looks as though it’s red or bumpy, this could certainly be considered another sign fleas have invested. Furthermore, you may notice some hair loss or even some black spots and scabbing on your pet.

Use Flea Combs and Tools

If you’re really having trouble with finding any fleas but you feel as though they are definitely there, you can use a tool such as the flea comb which has really closely set tines or teeth. A flea comb is a great way not just to detect fleas but also to get rid of them. Remember that when you use this tool, you should run it very closely to the skin so that any fleas can be captured by the teeth. Have a bowl of water handy and make sure that it’s got soapy water inside so that you can discard any captured fleas where necessary.

Here’s a cool trick if you still struggle to find fleas: put a sheet of paper or a paper towel (must be white or light in color) underneath your dog before you begin combing them. This way, any flea droppings will fall down onto the paper and make it easier to detect. These will look like little black specks. To distinguish between regular dirt and the flea dirt, spray water onto the paper. If the dirt dilutes into a reddish brown color, that’s digested blood – and certainly flea dirt!

Check Your Environment

You can check your dog for fleas and generally you will already find them there. In my experience, all I really needed to do was look for signs that my dog has fleas. Sometimes, however, you can check your environment and see for yourself if there are signs of fleas there.

How Can I Find Signs of Fleas in My Environment?

signs that my dog has fleas

Beyond researching for signs that my dog as fleas, I decided to also look for signs of fleas in my environment and my home. After all, fleas can begin to spread too, and I don’t want to have them hiding somewhere in my home ready to reinfect my pet as soon as I got rid of them. So if you want to learn about the signs of fleas in your environment, here is what I learned. Yep, I did the research on this too, so you won’t have to! Ready? Let’s get right to it.

Check Pet’s Bedding

The first thing that you need to do is check your pet’s usual haunts. This means looking at their bedding, the couch, and even your bed if you allow them to sleep on it with you! You may also need to check their crate as well as any other places that they regularly hang out. If your eyesight isn’t all that good, you may need a magnifying glass for this part because you’ll be checking for tiny, tiny specks. If you see something that looks like specks of salt and pepper, those are very likely eggs of fleas. Look very closely at your dog’s beddings… lift the blankets and pillows, pull up the cushions, and do what you can to spot eggs and even droppings. Droppings, as we already mentioned earlier, often look like little black specks.

Sometimes, fleas can actually wander off from your pet (or even fall off of them), which is why you should also check and treat all your pet’s usual hangouts. Sometimes, you may even see some fleas right there. So remember, be vigilant as you check dog beds, couches, beds, and crates – you might end up with a flea hopping right onto you!

Check Carpeting and Small Crevices

Although fleas are wingless and basically cannot fly, they can still jump multiple feet up in the air. It is for this reason that you should check your home for any other signs of a flea infestation just in case… this way, you can eliminate all of the fleas entirely instead of requiring multiple treatments.

As I’ve previously mentioned, fleas are tiny and flat, which makes it extremely easy for them to find tiny cracks and crevices to hide in. This is exactly why you should check any small cracks and holes in your flooring and walls where they could have hid. Also check any lifted parts in your carpet. Vacuum your rugs (although you may want to treat them with anti-flea powders and products first) to ensure any fleas and flea eggs are taken care of.

Know that if you have an extremely severe flea infestation, you may need to get some professional help to get rid of them – by hiring an exterminator, for example. At the very least, you can ask your veterinarian (or you can even ask the exterminators) for recommendations on treatments for fleas – both on your dogs and on your home.

How Do I Deal with Fleas and Get Rid of Them?

If you’re looking to get rid of fleas after you’ve figured out you have them… I’ve got your back on that one too. After I did my research on signs that my dog has fleas, I then did the necessary research to find out how I could get rid of the fleas. Here are some of the ways in which you can get rid of fleas so your dog (and even you!) won’t be left scratching any itches for weeks, months, or (God forbid) years!

Treat Your Pets and Your Environment

If you want to be able to get rid of fleas entirely, you can do so by first treating your pets. Get flea killing products such as powders, sprays, or even collars and even edible tablets and chews. Most of these products are designed to get rid of fleas by killing them, and then by further disrupting the life cycle and reproductive cycle of the insects. If you are unsure what product you need, make sure that you speak with your veterinarian so that they can recommend products that are safe for your pet. There are products that are made specifically for dogs, and products that are made specifically for cats. This is basically why you need to get one that will work well for your pet without compromising their health.

Remember that if you are going to be using products such as powders and sprays, you have to be careful not to allow your kids (if any) to be exposed to these products. Although generally safe, you don’t want a very young child to play around a treated area and then put their hands or something treated into their mouth. Please be careful when treating for fleas, especially if you have young children around!

Start Vacuuming!

The next thing that you can do in order to get rid of fleas is to begin vacuuming. Of course, you should do this once you have already treated your pet and your home, so as to reduce the risk of reinfection. Vacuuming allows you to pick up any remaining flea droppings and eggs, therefore effectively eliminating their presence in your home. Make sure that you get all of the cracks and crevices. Also vacuum carpets, rugs, and any other areas that you feel is necessary.

For me, when I started vacuuming, I went over all of the places that I usually allow my dog to hang out in. I essentially vacuumed all of the places and rooms that I allow my dog in. On top of that, I also made sure to clean up my dog’s bed, his crate, my own bed, and the couch (because these were all places my dog loved to frequent). I really made sure to get into all the cracks and crevices of the couch, so that I didn’t miss anything.

Additional Treatments?

If you’re wondering if there are any other additional treatments that you can do – there certainly are! For me, I threw my dog’s bed and beddings into the washer. I washed them on hot, then ran them through the dryer as well. That way, any remaining fleas and eggs will die for sure. I did the same for my beddings, since my dog would sometimes sleep with me in my bed. I would say that doing this is actually bordering on necessary because surely you wouldn’t want to deal with the thought that you’re sleeping on flea infested sheets. If you want peace of mind, I suggest you do this too!

One thing that isn’t necessary (but is suggested) is getting a steam clean done. Hiring a service to steam clean your home will make sure that all fleas are dead, and any remaining flea droppings and residues will be gone. I would especially recommend this to people who have respiratory problems or skin problems related to the fleas.


I hope that this article was helpful – I just wanted to share the information I found out when I did my research on the signs that my dog has fleas. If you figure out that you too have fleas, I would suggest that you treat as soon as you can. This way, you won’t need to deal with an extensive, prolonged infestation!