Fleas – How to know if your dog has fleas and what to do about it.


Whether you’ve had your dog for a while or whether it’s a new addition to your family, keeping an eye on its health is a responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Here are Tailing Tapping Antics’ handy hints on how to give your dog a health check to check/prevent for fleas.

It’s inevitable that at some point, if you ignore the possibility, your pet will play host to some annoying little visitors.

Recognise the signs of Fleas

Recognising that your dog has fleas by carrying out regular checks, although prevention is the best cure. (note dogs may be up to date with their flea and worming treatments, but this does’nt stop them being in your home.  The treatment is a preventative to the dog only):

Does your pet have….?


A common image of the flea that affects dogs/cats/small animals/humans etc.

A common image of the flea that affects dogs/cats/small animals/humans etc.


  • Mild to severe itching
  • Inflamed areas of skin
  • Bald spots (hair loss)
  • Flea poo (little black spots) in their hair
  • Small brown/black insects scurrying through their hair. (note: these beasts only spend 10% of their time on the dog ((their party host – and once finished feeding, will have a disco then jump around your home/car etc laying eggs.
This is the tell tale sign of fleas living on a dog, the black small poop deposits.

This is the tell tale sign of fleas living on a dog, the black small poop deposits.

Some extra tell tale signs to help you…do you have….?

  • Insect bites you cannot account for, on your body.
  • If any of the above apply to you or your dog, fleas could be present.  Check by combing your dog
    over a piece of wet strong piece of paper towel against the skin, going backwards against the grain of the hair..  If any black/red spots are deposited on this paper this could indicate flea droppings.  If these dots are a reddish brown then it is likely your dog has fleas
A small flea running through a dogs coat. You can see by the thumb on the picture how small these pests area.

A small flea running through a dogs coat. You can see by the thumb on the picture how small these pests area.

Some Factiods on fleas…

  • Fleas’ mouth parts are adapted to piercing the host’s skin and sucking blood.  So young/old/frail animals can be become very week very quickly and even die as a result of a flea infestation.
  • If your dog eats flea larvae or a flea, once it hits the digestive tract it sets off a chemical reaction that causes tape worm to grow.  We always recommend that when you flea, worm at the same time. Depending on the severity of the flea infestation and worm infestation, you may have to repeat the treatments, please speak to your vet first before administering any treatments as overdoses can have side effects.
  • Some dogs can be hypersensitive to flea bites and suffer from an allergic reaction, we have seen this in the grooming room quite a few times.  A certain percentage of dogs can be allergic to the saliva of a flea which in turn causes hair loss and balding.
  •  A flea can live for between 14 days to one year.
  •  A female can lay up to 50 eggs per day.
  • A flea egg can lay dormant for up to 2 years, yes 2 whole years. So make sure you hoover and dust and keep your home/car warm to hatch out the eggs in order to treat the surrounding vicinity with a great flea killing busting product.  (We sell these in store and online)
  • It is suggested that  most flea eggs, pupae and larvae; live within the furnishings of our home than on the host animal itself. 90% around the home/car etc. 10% on the host either dog or cat for a feed of blood.
  • You don’t have to own a dog or a cat to have fleas in your household, they can jump quite a distance and really are quite an athlete.

fleas on the bed and the little one said

How to treat fleas – The action plan:

Being a dog trainer and groomer its inevitable that I end up bringing home the dreaded pest, that we call the ‘F word’.  Here’s my action plan.

  1. First off in my house, I need to: treat dogs/cats/chickens/small animals in the house.  Its ideal that they are separate from the home at this point (i.e, outside or doing something that isn’t involved in the house – especially with the chemical treatments for the home – this includes fish that need covering up to prevent the chemical from getting into the water and poisoning the fish).  Once the dog is treated, and there are so many treatments on the markets (some are listed on our website, or you can pop in store to find the treatment suitable for your pet).  You can use pipettes to dispense a formula on the neck and tail area, or tablets, collars etc.  The next step is to attack the house.  We previously mentioned that Fleas spend only 10% of the time on the dog, so treating all areas that the dog might have been i.e. own house, parents houses, friends house, family members house, cars etc.  (As they can live up to a year after hatching). There are a few different methods, again down to preference on the product that generally give 6 months protection too. (These are also available to buy in store or online ((note not all products are online))
  2. Next: treat your: House/vehicles/other peoples homes that the pet has been in.  We sell various products that will assist with this.  Please come into the shop to see us @ 227 Eaves Lane, Chorley, Lancashire, PR6 0AG or drop us an email: info@tailtappingantics.com or call us on 01257 233644.  We also sell flea and worming treatments online: Click here for a selection of products that we offer online.
  3. When using products in the home, most insist that you dont breathe in the air around you.  So I normally make sure all my small animals are taken care of and not left in the house and have suitable housing and that my cats are outside.  And take my dogs out for a walk or send them for a groom at the shop (make sure your groomer knows – we still have to treat the shop, and our own pets)..
  4. Most home products need to have the windows open then once the treatment has worked its magic.  Please allow time for the air to disperse and to not breathe this in.
  5. You can bathe your dogs in a flea shampoo, however by doing this, your giving the dog a treatment to protect against fleas, this isnt as strong as the products that we offer or what your vet can offer.  Plus if you do decide to give your dog a treatment after a flea treatment you could infact be giving your dog an overdose of treatments. And I hate to say that dog bathing flea shampoos arent a 100% effective and this has been checked with local vets and we have seen this with our own eyes.This will kill some live fleas,but not the eggs or larvae.
  6. Vacuum and clean bedding, furnishings, floors and skirting boards as soon as possible and treat with a suitable home treatment.  Fleas, eggs, pupae, larvae can survive off the host animal for several weeks/months living in soft furnishings in your home before returning to your beloved pet.  So treatment of these areas is essential or the problem will constantly recur.
  7. Retreat if required, please make sure you consult your veterinarian to make sure that the treatments you are giving are safe to your dog and not overdosing them on product this includes giving a treatment for fleas and then putting on a flea collar, be mindful.

Regularly use, preventative flea and worm treatment which will protect your dog from fleas and worms for a stated period.  Flea larvae can be infected with tape worm eggs and so it is advisable to ensure that any flea treatment you use includes worm treatment as a matter of course.

So the sensible answer to the irritating problem of fleas is to use preventative flea and worm treatments and so hopefully avoid the problem altogether.

Please be kind to your dog groomer or vet by pre-warning them that your dog might or has fleas as they will need to reduce the exposure to others by making an appointment appropriate to avoid contaminating any other pets and households. There might be an additional cost for this to ensure that the grooming salon is treated and to prevent cross contamination.
That’s all for now folks.

Keep flea and worm free

Love Angela xxxx

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