November 19, 2023

What Do Flea Bites Look Like on Dogs?

Fleas are small, dark insects that bite animals to draw their blood. They also carry diseases, including typhus (Rickettsia typhi) and bartonella (Bartonella henselae), which can infect humans. Unfortunately, unless you have a microscope, it's difficult to distinguish flea bites on dogs from other types of skin irritations or allergic reactions. That's why it's important to watch out for any signs of a flea infestation in your dog or cat.

The most obvious symptom of a flea problem is red welts on the skin. These can appear as individual red bumps or clustered together like a rash. If your pet is scratching and licking excessively, these welts can eventually develop into skin infections, abrasions, or scabs.

In addition to the raised bumps, you can also look for patches of fur missing due to abrasions or scabs. You may also notice a ring of discoloration around the bites, which is caused by the flea's exoskeleton. In some cases, especially with very itchy pets, the bites can be flat instead of raised.

Another helpful tip is to check for flea dirt, which looks similar to a black pepper speck on the skin. This is a combination of blood and flea feces and is actually a great giveaway that your pet has a flea infestation! You can also watch for sudden mood changes in your pet, such as pacing or a loss of appetite, as these can indicate that they are feeling uncomfortable due to the bites.

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