How Did My Dog Get Fleas?

Published: September 2, 2018

Academy Animal Hospital Greenwood Franklin

Fleas are tricky little creatures. Even if you’re extremely careful about prevention, it’s still possible for your dog to get them. So how did it happen?

Many dog owners wonder about this when the vet diagnoses a flea infestation. In fact, concerned pet parents sometimes insist their dog must have something else - dry skin, behavioral issues, or anything, anything but fleas!

Although fleas can be a bit difficult to get rid of, there’s no need to worry. Your vet can help your pet fully recover and help you explore flea-prevention measures. Still, it’s good to identify the source of the fleas so your pup doesn’t keep getting them again and again.

From the Grass in Your Yard

That’s right - a prime suspect is your own backyard. Fleas jump on and off animals from the grass, hoping to get a drink of blood each time. Even if your dog is the only domestic animal that ever uses your yard, fleas can come from squirrels, deer, rabbits, and many other wild critters.

From the Dog Park

Areas with high concentrations of dogs, like dog parks and parks in general, often have fleas creeping around. Fleas either jump from other dogs to the ground, then to your dog, or jump directly from dog to dog.

From the Kennel or Groomer

Another common culprit is the groomer’s station, kennel, or doggie daycare your dog visits. Although these kinds of facilities take great care to prevent fleas, infestations happen. It only takes a few rogue fleas to make a pet miserable, because fleas lay 20 to 30 eggs a day.

From Your Visitors

Think back on who has visited your home recently, including friends, family, neighbors, and workers. Fleas live for several weeks, so go all the way through the last month. Who has pets? Who works near animals? Who works in grassy outdoor areas? Someone may have unintentionally allowed fleas to hitchhike into your home.

(Gulp) From You

Sorry to break the news, but you may have introduced the fleas yourself. A pet’s own family has the most day-to-day contact with them, so the chances are quite high that someone in the household brought in some unwelcome guests. Track down the source of the fleas, and you’ll help prevent infestation from happening repeatedly.

Treatment and Prevention

The good news is that fleas are very treatable and mostly preventable. Here are some tips for managing a flea infestation and keeping it from happening again:

● If you suspect fleas, confirm it with a vet’s diagnosis

● Kill existing fleas and prevent future infestation, following the vet’s guidelines for medication and techniques

● Clear your home of things with fleas, like infested bedding and pillows

● Use flea control from your vet consistently as a preventive measure

● Identify the sources of fleas and minimize your pet’s exposure

● Vacuum your home frequently and consider having hardwood floors, not carpet

● Wash home fabrics regularly

● Keep your yard neat and mowed

For more information about flea prevention, connect with Academy Animal Hospital.