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What Every Dog Owner Needs to Know About Fleas

Fleas are small, wingless, blood-sucking insects which are extremely irritating to both animals and humans alike. They can also carry and spread serious diseases, and are the major cause of skin diseases in dogs, such as hair loss and itching.

Although fleas can’t fly, they have incredibly strong hind legs, and are able to jump to exceptional lengths. There are many species of fleas, all of which reproduce profusely and very quickly, with different species preferring different hosts. If fleas are hungry enough though, they will feed on almost any animal.

The common cat flea, despite its name, is by far the flea that is the most bothersome to the domestic dog. Infestations occur when dogs live in a warm, damp environment, where flea control isn’t adhered to, and dogs can also become infested when having contact with other dogs that have flea problems. Fortunately though, there are several things that dog owners can do to keep fleas at bay.

Symptoms of Fleas

Fleas aren’t just an annoyance to your dog. They are actually the main cause of itchiness, also known as pruritis, skin irritation, and scratching in the majority of companion dogs. They cause irritation to a dog by simply living on it and crawling around on its skin. Once a flea lands on your dog, it begins to feed by biting its skin and feeding on its blood. There are some dogs that are not bothered by fleas very much, but there are many, especially young dogs and puppies which develop severe skin problems through fleas.

Treating Dogs with Fleas

Prevention is always the best cure for fleas, but if flea-related medical problems do arise, then quick medical treatment is the next best thing. The affected dog as well as all other animals at home should be treated by using one of many methods which are available. A flea comb can be used to remove fleas, particularly short haired pets, both cats and dogs alike, and then killed immediately.

Prognosis and Complications for Dogs with Fleas

Besides the fact that flea infestation is extremely unpleasant, it also poses a number of health risks to both pets and humans, with itching being the main result of their continual biting. Some dogs are more sensitive than others however, and flea bites can lead to severe itching, as well as some major skin infections.

Anemia is another cause of concern, especially in puppies and weak or sickly dogs, because if not caught and treated in time, other complications can occur because of the anemia, and the animal can die.

Areas and Breeds Affected by Fleas

Fleas occur throughout the world, and can affect any breed of dog. Dogs more at risk of flea infestation are those living in hot, humid climates, together with other dogs. Fleas thrive in these living conditions, and because of their amazing jumping abilities, move very easily from one animal to the other.

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