How Dogs Get Fleas

Wondering About How Dogs Get Fleas?

One of the biggest questions pet owners need to know is how dogs get fleas. We hear animal lovers saying they have fenced in yards and never allow their dogs around other animals. How on earth did their dogs get fleas? It really is an excellent question.

How Dogs Get Fleas: Fur & Tempurature Matter

Fleas affect every animal that has fur, especially dogs. They even attack humans (although they do not care much for humans). Dogs get fleas all over the world, especially in summer. Some countries, with ideal temperatures of 65-85 degrees and humidity levels of 75-85%, have flea attacks year-round.

How Dogs Get Fleas: Fleas Are Jumping Around

Fleas spread in two ways: either from the environment to animal or from animal to animal. Fleas jump; they do not fly. They fall off of one animal, then live in furniture, carpets, grass, trees, vegetation, and even on humans. Environment to animal contact happens immediately when fleas jump from the environment onto the animal. Fleas left behind by one animal (rabbits, squirrels, birds, deer, dogs, or cats) can wait weeks to jump onto any animal that comes along.

Animal to animal contact is when fleas, with their strong back legs, jump from one animal to another. The flea then hides in the coat and begins attacking. When dogs get fleas at first, it is hardly noticeable unless the dog is allergic or highly sensitive to the flea bites.

How Dogs Get Fleas: The Effects

For the flea-allergic dog, itching can be severe and lead to hair-loss, skin infections, and rashes. Some dogs are so hypersensitive to flea saliva that they itch all over. The bite of even a single flea can cause intense itching and suffering resulting in the dog scratching or biting itself. The flea sucks the blood from the dog, and if left untreated, it can cause severe anemia.

How Dogs Get Fleas: The Life of the Flea

The life cycle of the flea progresses through these stages: egg, caterpillar or larva, cocoon or pupa, and adult. Fleas are easily found during the spring, summer, or autumn. They can withstand freezing temperature. An adult female flea can stay on the dog for several weeks. She can lay eggs as many as three or four times; laying twenty to thirty eggs daily. She can generate hundreds of eggs over her life with eggs falling off the pet on bedding, carpeting, outside in the yard, wherever your pet walks, and even in the car. This spreads fleas everywhere. When they hatch, they wait for an unsuspecting animal to come along.

When eggs begin, they are the size of the dot on an "i". Eggs hatch into tiny larvae to survive in the fibers on furniture and carpets, in tiny cracks of tile and vinyl, and outdoors in the grass, shrubs, and sidewalk. Regardless how clean the house or yard are, fleas feed on dirt, blood-rich adult flea feces, and even skin scales. Larvae grow; they molt twice, and inside their cocoon they pupate. Pupae are remarkably strong protected by their cocoon. They live a long time in even the harshest conditions.

Fleas do not emerge from their cocoons until they detect heat, vibrations, and exhaled carbon dioxide. All of these conditions allow them to locate a warm-blooded human or animal. Adult fleas have extremely strong legs and can easily jump onto their next victim, ready to start the life cycle again.

The fourteen-day cycle can be repeated hundreds of times from just one flea. For this reason, most treatments need to be repeated fourteen days after the first. One survivor will establish the frustrating cycle again. Understanding how dogs get fleas allows us to identify the challenges to eliminate them!