Pet Care

6 tell-tale signs that your dog or cat may have fleas.

6 tell-tale signs that your dog or cat may have fleas.

Did you know that San Diego has more fleas than any other city in the United States? That's right—even though the sunny city might seem peacefully serene at a glance, these annoying little bloodsuckers run rampant, delivering itchy bites to pets and humans alike. These parasites especially love warmer weather, so it's important to be on the lookout for these signs of fleas as spring and summer rolls around. 

  1. Aggressive scratching or biting. Flea bites are painful and extremely irritating. Your dog or cat may be scratching their skin in an effort to alleviate the itch, which can lead to other problems, such as… 
  2. Loss of fur. Is Patches looking a little patchy? Your pet might be scratching excessively due to fleas, leading to bald spots. 
  3. Red, bumpy skin. Look for red dots on your pet's skin, especially near their neck, shoulders, and around the base of their tail. 
  4. Flea dirt. What looks like black pepper in your pet's fur or on their bed may actually be flea dirt—dried blood flakes that fleas leave behind. 
  5. Eggs or larvae. Although flea eggs and larvae are too small to be readily seen, fleas can lay up to 50 eggs per day. This can rapidly lead to an infestation. Larvae are small worm-like creatures that are around the size of a grain of rice. 
  6. Adult fleas. These little, reddish-brown bugs are sneaky. They're only about an eighth of an inch and move fast. They have strong back legs that allow them to hop high in the air (up to a foot!)

Oh no. I think my pet has fleas. 

Getting rid of fleas isn't easy, but it also isn't impossible! Take these steps right away to ensure the infestation doesn't worsen or cause more discomfort for your pet or you. 

  1. See the vet. If you suspect your cat or dog has fleas, take them to the vet as soon as possible. Here at Papaya, we'll give your pet a close examination and recommend the best flea treatment to get things under control. 
  2. Do some deep cleaning. Give your pet's bedding, rugs, pillows, sheets, comforters, etc. a good wash. Then, thoroughly vacuum and/or sweep all flooring, paying special attention to the spaces along the walls. 
  3. Bath time! Vets will likely recommend giving your pet (cat or dog!) a bath with a gentle soap, which acts as an insecticide. (However, our veterinarians typically do not recommend flea shampoos as they are not effective in treating infestations.)Then, comb them from the top of the head to the tip of the tail with a flea comb. Not all pets enjoy baths and may get stressed. For a Fear Free bath, keep their favorite treats or a beloved toy close by for any needed distraction.

If your pet is behaving abnormally or scratching excessively, book a vet visit sooner than later. If treated quickly and correctly, fleas are just an annoyance for your pet (and you!). With an appointment at Papaya Pet Care, your pet will be back to its happy, normal self in no time. 



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