Dog Fleas

Dog fleas, also known as Ctenocephalides canis, are small wingless parasites which infest dogs but that can actually infest any other of your pets. They settle inside their fur because it has the perfect environment since it is hot and humid. Dog fleas are not the only type of fleas that can attack dogs. You should know that your dogs can also be attacked by cat fleas, but this it is not very common.

Fleas reach their adult stage usually during summers when the hot weather and the moisture helps the eggs to hatch. Infestation can happen even during winters, since the inside of your house is going to be warm despite the outside cold. This means, once you have an infestation, fleas are going to bother your pets for a very long time if you don’t find a way to kill them.


dog fleas

Flea bites on dogs

When fleas reach the adult stage they need to find a host to survive. Dog fleas likes to settle inside pet’s fur especially on their back which is the perfect habitat for them. Then, they will bite your dogs and ingest their blood to live and reproduce. Your dogs are not going to like this since the toxins inside fleas’ saliva will cause them a lot of itch. Some dogs can also be allergic to these toxins and the itch in this case can can be very painful. When infested with fleas, your dogs will spend a lot of time scratching even to the point when their skin is going to bleed and they start losing their hair.

How to know if your dog has fleas

Fleas do not have wings but they can make very high and long jumps. This allows them to attack your dog and move from a host to another very easily. To know if your dog has fleas, the first thing to do is to check inside its fur. To spot them it is not too difficult. Dog fleas have a dark red-brown color and usually settle in the back where there are more hair. In most of the cases, it is possible to notice them while they are literally moving around.

If you believe your dog has been infested with fleas but you can’t find them, you can look for their feces. If you find on your dog small black dots inside the fur or on the skin, it is possible you have found some flea feces. To make sure of this, put some of them on a tissue. Since fleas live off your animal’s blood, their feces will have plenty of that. Just pour some drops of water on the tissue and check if a red stain appears. If it does, you are now sure that those are flea feces and your dog has been infested.

How to get rid of dog fleas

Usually, vets suggest the use of flea repellent that you can easily find in pharmacies or in pet shops. There are different types of products which you can choose from:

Spoton – They are sold in individual dose of liquid that have to be applied in between dog’s shoulder blades. Since the product is very toxic for dogs it is very important that they don’t lick it. That is why it is applied in the only area they can not reach with their mouth.

Spray – Flea sprays are used on your dog’s hair. The product is toxic if inhaled so it is recommended to apply it in open areas. It is very important to make sure the dog does not breathe the product or it could get intoxicated.

Shampoo – Among all the products shampoos are the less dangerous but also the less effective. Like all the other flea repellent they contain chemical substances which can kill fleas but they are going to be toxic for your dog.

Collar – It looks like a normal collar, but a flea collar for dogs contains a substance that keep fleas away. The idea behind it would not be too bad if it wasn’t for the fact that it contains chemicals that can harm your dogs and cause it severe itch.

Vets, pharmaceutical companies and commercial will always suggest you to use flea repellent in the case your dog is infested with fleas. What they DO NOT tell you is that these products not only can cause allergies and dermatitis to your dog but they can also be very dangerous. If you read the products information sheet you will find out that all of them contain chemicals that are actually very harmful for your dogs. Also, you can read that it is strongly suggested to manage the products with care since they can harm your health too. So, how can be a product harmful to you and not dangerous for your dogs?

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What are fleas?


Knowing what are fleas and how they behave is very important if you want to get rid of them from you, your animals and your house. Fleas are wingless insect that cannot fly but have the ability to jump large distances. This allows them to move around from place to place and host to host very easily. Since they are external parasites and feed on blood, fleas’ primary target are animals, especially birds and mammals such as dogs, cats and humans.

Fleas prefer warm climates and humid environments to live and reproduce. This is because humidity and moisture are conditions necessary for their eggs to hatch. A single female can consume about 15 times its body weight and can lay 40 to 50 eggs every day. This means that in an entire lifetime they can lay up to 2,000 eggs. Looking at this number you can understand how easily is to could be to have a flea infestation if they settle on your animals or inside your house.

What do fleas look like?

Fleas are small insects approximately 2.5 mm long and have a reddish-brown color. Their bodies is very flattened and even if they are visible to the naked eye, they can be very hard to find and catch. Before they will reach the adult stage, they will go trough other 3 main stages: egg, larva and pupa. The flea life cycle takes from two weeks to eight months to be completed, depending on the environmental condition they are living in.

how to treat fleas

Even if they are classified as different species, all types of fleas are very similar to each other and it can be difficult sometimes to differentiate them. This happens also because for example, the type which is supposed to attack cats, can be found on either dogs and humans. For this reason, let’s see the most common types in details:

Dog fleas – They are also known with their scientific name Ctenocephalides canis. A dog flea has a dark red color and is different from other types because it has combs around the mouth and head. Despite their name, dog fleas are able to infest also other animals.

Cat fleas – Their scientific name is Ctenocephalides felis. Cat fleas have a dark color, usually black or brown. They are more common than dog fleas, because they are more resistant to flea repellents. They are usually infesting cats but can be found on other animals as well.

Human fleas – This particular type is also known as Pulex irritans. They are 2-3 mm long and their color is dark brown. They are quite rare in the cities but you can find them very easily in the countryside especially where there are farm animals.

Where do fleas come from?

Summer is the period when flea infestations happen more frequently. The reason is fleas love hot and humid weathers to live and reproduce. A flea life cycle is much faster when they find the right conditions and summer is the perfect time. Flea infestations are less frequent during winters but they are still possible, particularly inside the house. Carpets, pillowcases, curtains, moquette, couches and beds are the places where they commonly hide and you are going to find them.

In the case you have pets or a garden in your house flea infestation become very common. Domestic animals are the perfect host and plants in your garden or in your house are very good places for fleas to hide. If you have pets, you should check them regularly because as soon as they get infested, you are going to have fleas everywhere, especially if you let them inside the house.

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Flea Infestation

Having a flea infestation is very common if you have a house with a garden or you have pets. Once you have one is going to take a very long time to solve the situation. You should be aware that a flea infestation is not just something very annoying to deal with but it is also something dangerous. Since they are parasites, fleas can transmit diseases and be a risk to your pets’ health and yours.

flea infestation

How to get rid of flea infestation

In the case you have pets, the first thing to do is to remove fleas from them. You are going to be sure your pets have been attacked if they are scratching more than usual. What you should do is to check inside their fur, particularly in the neck and the tail area. To help you, you can use a flea comb, a comb that will allow you to check inside the hair and that will trap fleas at the same time. If you find any, drop them into soapy water to kill them. Remember to treat all the pets. If you only eliminate fleas from one, they can always jump back from another.

To get rid of fleas from your pets, you can also use some flea repellent. You can choose from different options:

  • spray
  • spot-on
  • shampoo
  • collar

All of these products can help you to eliminate fleas from your pets, but there is something you should know about them. Most of them contain toxic chemicals which are going to be very dangerous for your animals. You can just read the information sheet of any of them to know that if for example the product is either licked, inhaled or ingested, it can be very harmful. This is why I suggest you to use a natural flea repellent, which contains ingredients that are completely safe for your animals.

Flea infestation in house

Usually flea infestation happens during summer or when the weather is hotter. Fleas need humid and hot temperature to hatch their eggs and be able to complete their life cycle. This is why often they decide to settle inside houses where the temperature is going to be perfect even when outside is going to be very cold. If you have a flea infestation in your home it is going to take a lot of time to get rid of them, especially if you have pets and you let them inside. But to get rid of dog fleas or cat fleas is not going to be easy if your house is infested too.

You will find fleas inside your carpets, pillowcases, bed sheets or in any dark and dusty area of your house. This means that to get rid of them you will have to clean your house from top to bottom. Vacuum everywhere, especially behind and underneath furniture. Wash all the things that are washable like mattress cover or blankets.

If you have pets wash also everything that belongs to them and make sure to clean very careful their space and places where they usually are. Keeping your house clean is going to be the first step. Using then a flea repellent to make sure fleas are going to be completely exterminated and will not come back in the future is going to be the last.

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Human Fleas

Human fleas are a very particular type of fleas and they are also known as Pulex irritans. They are small external parasites which compared to dog fleas and cat fleas present some specific characteristics.

As you might know, we are not immune to fleas’ attacks and flea bites on human are very common. The type of fleas that generally attacks us is 1-3 mm long, and its shape is similar to a drop. Its color is black or dark brown and usually it does not jump too high.

humam fleas

You have to keep in mind that sometimes also dog fleas and cat fleas can attack us and bite us. Today, fleas on humans are very rare. This is because of the increase hygiene and sanitary conditions of our cities. However, it is still possible to encounter them in the countryside, especially near farm animals.

Flea bites on humans

The first symptom of an attack of fleas on human is itchiness and a burning sensation after the bite. The pain sometimes can last for few days or even a week. Usually, this type of fleas do not attack our upper body, since it is not able to jump too high. This is why they are going to bite you on your legs or ankles. Their bites do not cause isolated raised bumps on the skin like mosquito bites but more flat bumps. They usually will bite you two or three times in a very small area.

Flea bites causes itch, discomfort and the area around the bite can be sore or painful. I suggest you to not scratch it because you might irritate the skin and cause bacterial infections. Symptoms can be sometimes very strong especially if you are allergic to their saliva. If you are I strongly suggest to see a doctor as soon as possible.

Prevention and how to treat fleas on humans

Flea bites on humans can be treated in different ways. It is very important to make sure you will not irritate more the area of the bite while you are trying to cure it.

In case you fell itch, doctors usually prescribe hydrocortisone creams that can ease the it and cure the reddening of the skin. However, these creams have many side effects and even if they can alleviate the pain at first, they might cause in the future the same symptoms you were trying to fight.

Some people have a hot bath with dish soap to ease the pain of flea bites. This is because dish soap is known to be very effective in killing fleas. However, even if the soap is actually good for this, it is too aggressive for the skin. My suggestion is to NOT USE this method since it can cause irritation and worsening your problem instead of solving it.

On the other hand, I strongly suggest you to keep your house always clean. You should know that fleas prefer darker and humid places. This is why they will infest your carpets, couches, pillowcases and curtains. It is very important you clean these areas to prevent any infestation of your house.

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Cat Fleas

Cat Fleas (also called Ctenocephalides felis) have dimensions of 2-3 mm and have generally a more flat shape than other parasites of the same family, such as dog fleas.This is not the only difference that there is. Their color is reddish or brown and they survive living off cat’s blood to complete their life cycle. Another characteristic of cat fleas is their prominent genal comb that allow them to pierce the skin of the cat and make very hard to remove them from it.

In order to live, cat fleas needs warm and humid temperature. This is why the fur of your cats is going to be the perfect place for them to settle in. This will permit them to survive even during cold periods and to reproduce. It is also possible that at a certain point they will decide to move on another host, which doesn’t have to be a cat but it can also be any another animal, even us.

cat fleas

Behavior and flea bites on cats

The reproductive capacity of cat fleas is very high. They can lay 15 to 40 eggs per day and more than 2,000 eggs in a lifetime. Even if the eggs are lay on the cat, they are going to fall and settle inside the environment where the cat lives.In good environmental condition a flea will move from the egg stage to larval stage in just 10 days. Then they will hide in dark, humid and hot places inside your house like carpets, couches, beds or other dusty areas. In few weeks they will end their cycle becoming first pupae then adult.

Once they reach the adult stage they will start looking for a host, usually  a cat, but they can choose also another pet or other animals. Then they will settle inside its hair and getting the nourishment from its blood. Flea bites are going to be very irritating for your cat. They will cause itch, red skin and in the worst cases infections or dermatitis. You are going to immediately understand when your cat is bitten because it will start scratching very hard.

How to get rid of cat fleas

The first step to get rid of cat fleas is to find them. To do so you will have to look very carefully inside the hair of your cat and in the places where it sleeps. I suggest using a hand lens when you do the search because sometimes could be very difficult to see them. This is what you have to do:

  • Lift gently your cat hair and start looking for fleas. They have a reddish-brown color and are about 2 mm long.
  • If you notice small brown-black dots on your cats you may just have found flea feces.
  • Check your cat more times during the day. Since fleas are very small, sometimes it is possible to miss them.
  • Check the areas where it sleeps. Its basket, bed, couches or all the other places where it uses to take naps.

Prevention and flea treatment for cats

There are different ways to treat fleas on cats and most of them require the use of flea repellents (such as collar, shampoo, spot-on) which contain toxic chemicals and may not be well tolerated by the cat. Sometimes they can cause allergic reactions or infections (when ingested).

This is why a lot of people have decided to use natural home remedies to treat their cats. However, its is vey important that you document yourself before using any of these remedies that are vey easy to find on the web. For example, DO NOT put garlic in your cat food or wash them with dish soap like many website suggest. Both of these remedies are very dangerous for your animal and can create a bigger problem that the one you are trying to solve.

One of the best ways to protect your cats is to keep your house and the environment where they live always clean. This is because fleas like to hide in dusty areas especially curtains, carpets, moquette, pillowcases and couches. Fleas infestations are less frequent when they cannot find places to hide and reproduce.

I want to give you with a good trick to catch fleas in house. Put a plate with dish soap under a lamp or with a lighted tea light candle in it. The light will attract the fleas in the plate and the dish soap will trap them until they are dead. If you decide to follow this trick, be very careful that your cats will not be able to reach the plate (as I mentioned before, dish soap is very dangerous if ingested).

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Fleas in House

The day you find out that you have fleas in house, it is going to be the beginning of a nightmare. This is because, fleas can go very easily around your house infesting your pets, you and all the environment. You should know that fleas like to settle inside the house because they prefer dark, hot and humid places where they can hide and reproduce. This is why you will find them in carpets, couches, pillowcases or curtains. Your house is always going to be the perfect habitat for them throughout all the year, since even when outside is going to be very cold they will always find a warm place inside.

fleas in house

How to get rid of fleas in house

Get rid of fleas in your home, could be a difficult task. To make sure they are absolutely gone, most of the times is necessary to call a flea control since general flea repellent such as flea spray for house are not strong enough to kill them. The infestation is even more problematic if you have in your house a garden, plants or pets. In the case you have pets, the possibility they are going to be attacked from dog fleas or cat fleas is very high. Here below you can find my personal advices on how to keep your house free from fleas.

5 Suggestion on how to get rid of fleas in the house

  1. If you have pets, clean all the items that belong to your pets: towels, toys and dresses. Wash everything in a washing machine or with hands. Also, wash blankets and covers of chairs and couches.
  2. A good way to keep your house free from fleas is to have your carpets and moquette clean all the time. To clean your carpets you can use a vacuum cleaner or a vaporiser.
  3. Keep your house ALWAYS clean. Clean behind and underneath all furniture and keep clean all the darkest and most humid places of the house. Fleas are going to hide there.
  4. Remember to throw away the vacuum cleaner bag. Be very careful that the bag does not open when you are throwing it away. Fleas may get out and infest your house again.
  5. Keep always clean where your pets sleep. Clean their baskets and beds regularly, using first the vacuum cleaner and then a disinfectant.

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