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What Do Canine Fleas Look Like? Indicators to Look ahead to

Fleas are tiny little bugs, roughly round 3mm in size, with lengthy again legs designed for leaping lengthy distances. They don’t have wings, however they will journey fairly far simply by leaping. Fleas are usually reddish-brown or brown in colour with skinny, flat, hairy-looking our bodies (that get fatter as they gorge themselves) and mouthparts like tiny siphons. These tiny siphons are designed to assist them stab and suck the blood of their host.

Fleas have six legs and are greater than capable of leap massive distances as they transfer from host to host. Their colour helps them mix into the fur or hair of their host, whereas their skinny, flat form helps them transfer simply by means of thick fur. They’ve a tough exoskeleton and the “hair” on their our bodies factors backward. By design, this characteristic is supposed to raised assist anchor them to their host.

Fleas might or might not have eyes, as they normally navigate their host based mostly on their sense of odor and their antennae. Although grownup fleas are small, they are often seen with the bare eye and are sometimes discovered transferring by means of an animal’s fur as they feast.

There are over 2,000 species of fleas worldwide, with 300 species residing in North America, there are solely two species that appear to be commonest in cats and canines. One is the cat flea, or ctenocephalides felis, and the opposite is the canine flea, or ctenocephalides canis. There are additionally rat fleas, human fleas, raccoon fleas, rabbit fleas, and extra.

What Do Dog Fleas Look Like?
Because of CDC (@cdc) for making this photograph freely out there on Unsplash

Though all species have a particular host they like, it doesn’t cease them from feeding on different forms of hosts. Because of this the cat flea can have an effect on canines and the canine flea can have an effect on cats and both kind of flea has no drawback feeding on people or different animals, both. Canine and cat fleas each carry the parasite that creates tapeworms, and the oriental rat flea is a service of the bubonic plague.

Different Flea Species


Regardless that the most typical forms of fleas present in North America are the home cat and canine flea species, there are others to be discovered. Along with the oriental rat flea (scientifically often called the xenopsylla cheopsis) that prefers feeding off rats, there’s additionally a rabbit flea (or spilopsyllus cuniculi) discovered on each wild and pet rabbits, and the sticktight flea.

The sticktight flea can also be known as the tropical hen flea (or echidnophaga gallinacea) and feeds primarily off of poultry. There’s even species of fleas that loves feeding on people. One is known as the human flea (or pulex irritans) and the opposite is known as the false human flea (or pulex simulans). Each love people as their host, however in a pinch are comfortable to feast on canines, cats, and pigs too.

As a result of these two flea species are so intently associated, you’ll usually discover the human flea and the false human flea in shut proximity to one another. Each of those flea sorts could be discovered on canines and cats, in addition to wild canines fairly usually.

In North America, when somebody has a flea infestation of their residence with considered one of their pets, the most certainly wrongdoer is the home cat flea. In Europe, the canine flea is most frequently the wrongdoer. Nonetheless, somebody can develop a flea infestation of any species of flea, regardless of the place they’re. It’s simply not as widespread because the cat and canine flea species.

The Life Cycle of a Flea

The lifetime of a flea progresses by means of 4 levels:

  1. Fleas begin as an egg.
  2. The egg turns right into a larva.
  3. The larva turns right into a pupa.
  4. In the end, you might have an grownup flea.

The one stage of a flea you’ll seemingly see in your pet is the grownup stage. The opposite levels are likely to occur elsewhere, such because the yard, or in carpet and bedding inside your house.

Observe that an grownup flea solely accounts for about 1% of the flea inhabitants discovered close to you, both in your yard, your house, or each. That signifies that for each one grownup flea you discover sucking your pet’s blood, you’ll be able to relaxation assured there are at the least 99 extra of the little bloodsuckers percolating within the different levels of life round your home and yard, ready to transition into adults.

A flea experiences a whole metamorphosis throughout the 4 levels of life and all the course of can take anyplace from two weeks to so long as eight months. Elements like humidity, temp, and meals that’s out there all play a job in how rapidly the metamorphosis occurs. Grownup fleas a lot want hotter climate with a little bit of humidity. In splendid circumstances, a single grownup feminine flea can lay upwards of 10-50 eggs. That works out to about 2000 potential eggs throughout the span of a flea’s potential lifespan of 60-100 days. A lot of these eggs will develop into fleas that may reproduce and it’s simple to see how infestations can occur so rapidly.

As soon as an grownup flea hatches, the one objective it has is to feed. It has to feed inside every week or it could die, though some can survive for much longer in the fitting circumstances and setting. As soon as the flea feeds and will get a stomach stuffed with blood, they transfer on to mating with one other flea to perpetuate the life cycle.

Although it doesn’t normally occur inside the first 24-36 hours, as soon as a flea feeds and breeds, it’ll begin laying eggs. This normally occurs inside the first week except they’re unable to feed. As soon as the feminine flea begins laying her eggs, she’ll begin laying roughly 20-30 eggs per day for about 3-9 days.

The feminine will lay her eggs on her host, as a result of she must proceed feeding as she lays the eggs to maintain her metabolism up. A lot of the eggs the feminine flea lays shall be laid in your pet’s coat or hair. Eggs are sticky, whitish in colour, and moist at first, however they rapidly dry out after which wind up falling off the host.

For this reason flea eggs are sometimes discovered on the ground, within the yard, on furnishings, or in your pet’s bedding. Actually, many of the egg, larvae, and pupae inhabitants shall be discovered near your pet’s favourite spot to nap and lay.

If you crunch the numbers, it’s astonishing to comprehend you could be preventing off an infestation of 1 / 4 of 1,000,000 fleas in simply thirty days, all in various levels of life. Sadly, due to how the life cycle progresses, that’s precisely what makes fleas so laborious to do away with. It takes anyplace from 1-10 days for flea larvae to come back forth from a flea egg, and it could take even longer in poor circumstances because the larvae waits for the perfect time to hatch.

As soon as the larvae are hatched, that is essentially the most susceptible stage they undergo apart from maturity. They appear like little, prickly earthworms or ugly maggots. They’re white in colour till they feed, which should be accomplished inside three days or they’ll die.

As soon as they feed, they flip brown. They like darkish locations, reasonable temps, and excessive humidity to outlive and thrive. No matter colour, this stage is when they’re best to kill. They’ll’t survive water or full daylight, which is why they search darkish locations. Nonetheless, this larvae stage solely lasts perhaps every week to simply below two weeks.

As soon as larvae undergo their molting processes, the larvae spin cocoons to enter the pupae stage. Pupae are a whitish colour and really sticky to assist them camouflage themselves with particles from their setting. Although pupae are harder than larvae, they will nonetheless die throughout this stage if the humidity is low or if they’re uncovered to pesticides.

The pupae course of can take 5 days as much as two weeks to completely develop. Nonetheless, as soon as the cocoon is spun and two weeks have handed, they will sit and hibernate in that stage for a number of days as much as six months with no meals. That is how they survive circumstances that might not be splendid, equivalent to excessive temperatures.

Basically, it is a pre-adult state the place the flea simply waits for the fitting time to emerge fully-formed. So, regardless of what number of grownup fleas and larvae you handle to eradicate, there are at all times extra, prepared and ready to start the entire course of as soon as once more. It’s a nasty cycle that may be tough to interrupt and defeat. When a flea is able to emerge from it’s cocoon, it can achieve this due to some type of stress they’ve detected.

This is perhaps stress from warmth or is perhaps stress from the host animal if it lays down on the cocoon. They simply want the fitting set off to emerge and start to repopulate, even when all grownup fleas and larvae have already died, which typically occurs in properties the place there was a flea infestation, however no host to feed on for some time.

Fleas emerge from their cocoon and discover their host utilizing contact and by senses. They’ll sense carbon dioxide, gentle, and air currents, which all work collectively to present them a normal course by which to leap and fix themselves to their host.

Sadly, it’s tough to get a flea infestation below management, due to their life cycle. You want a flea management answer that doesn’t merely deal with your pet’s grownup fleas, but additionally works to regulate the flea throughout its different levels of life.

What are widespread indicators that my canine has fleas?

Your furry good friend may have a canine flea remedy if you happen to discover modifications in conduct or look. Listed below are some widespread signs to look out for:

  • Heavy scratching from irritated or dry pores and skin
  • Hair loss or your pet’s fur turns into noticeably skinny
  • Pores and skin irritation from flea saliva after flea bites
  • Flea grime or flea feces in your canine’s fur

When you’re not sure, fast use of a flea comb may help establish flea droppings or different clues to their skin-related considerations.

How Harmful are Fleas?

Fleas can carry tapeworms and trigger a tapeworm infestation in your pet when your pet bites and chews and by chance swallows a flea. It’s possible you’ll not even notice your pet has tapeworms except he begins scooting otherwise you discover his urge for food is down. Fortunately, tapeworms aren’t normally transmittable to people, though it’s best to at all times be secure and wash your arms after taking part in with or dealing with an animal.


Moreover, fleas could cause different severe ailments, equivalent to FAD (flea allergy dermatitis) which is mainly an allergic response to flea saliva. The flea saliva from a flea chew triggers a rash that may make your pet itchy and depressing. That rash can progress into one thing that requires remedy out of your vet to resolve, together with secondary infections.

Different issues a pet can expertise with a heavy infestation of fleas is anemia in canines. Fleas are tiny bloodsuckers. When there are numerous of all of them over your pet, then they eat extra blood than you would possibly notice. That is particularly prevalent with pups and kittens, as a result of their our bodies are a lot smaller and weaker than an grownup canine or cat. When you discover your pet’s gums look pale and so they appear to be behaving in a torpid method, anemia often is the motive.

And at last, fleas could cause people some hassle as nicely, because of micro organism they carry. The micro organism bartonella henselae causes what’s often called cat scratch illness (CSD), which could be handed on to people by means of a cat chew and even petting a cat with fleas.

CSD isn’t deadly however could cause vital issues and discomfort in addition to ache. Canine can get an an infection too from a distinct species of the bartonella bacterium, which might trigger vital pet well being points like liver and coronary heart illness, together with extra minor well being points equivalent to vomiting and lameness.

As you’ll be able to see, fleas aren’t cute, and so they aren’t wholesome on your pets or for you. They’re tiny little pests that trigger untold mayhem if left unchecked. When you assume your pet might have a flea drawback, it’s vital to get began with remedy sooner slightly than later, so you’ll be able to start to successfully fight this scourge and eradicate them from your house and yard.


  1. Clark, ByMike, and Mike Clark. “What Fleas & Bites On Canine Look Like & Residence Cures To Get Rid Of Them.” Dogtime, Dogtime, 25 Jan. 2018, https://dogtime.com/dog-health/54279-fleas-bites-dogs-look-like-home-remedies-get-rid.
  2. petMD. “PetMD.” PetMD, 21 Mar. 2016, www.petmd.com/canine/parasites/evr_multi_common_fleas_dogs_cats.
  3. “Photos of Fleas: What Do Fleas Look Like?” Orkin.com, www.orkin.com/different/fleas/what-do-fleas-look-like/.
  4. “What Do Fleas Seem like?” What Do Fleas Look Like & How To Get Rid of Them | No Chew Is Proper, www.nobiteisright.ca/en/parasites/fleas/.

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