What Do Fleas Look Like

Having an itching dog may lead you to ask, "What do fleas look like?" Fleas are the bane of every pet owner, as these pests are attracted to the fur of dogs and cats. This affinity for warm, dark places makes it hard to spot and identify fleas.

Do Fleas Look Like What's On My Pet?
There are many species of flea and unfortunately, these biting insects are found in most parts of the world. The most common species to attack pests is the cat flea-dogs with a sense of irony, take note. If you think you've seen a flea, the following information can help you make a positive ID:

  • That itching thing. The first sign your pets may give you that they are infested with fleas is itching. Cats and dogs often have an allergic reaction to flea saliva, which causes them to actively bite and scratch at flea bites.
  • Prepare to squint. An adult flea is less than 1/8" in length. They are dark colored, often black or reddish brown, and have thin bodies that make it easier to navigate the dense fur of their hosts.
  • We don't need no stinking wings! Fleas are wingless insects that rely on the strength of their back legs to navigate. The average flea can jump up to 200 times its body length, making it the longest jumping creature (relative to its size) on the planet.
  • Thick skinned. Fleas have a hard, polished shell that is difficult to crush. Even a hard squeeze with your fingers is often not enough to crack a flea's shell. Fleas are also covered with fine, backward-pointing hairs that make it hard to pull a flea from an animals fur.
  • Left in the dirt. While fleas may be hard to spot on your pet, it is often easy to see the mess they leave behind. "Flea dirt," the feces fleas leave behind, appears as black pepper like spots on an animals skin. Wiping at flea dirt with a wet paper towel will leave a dark red smear, as the feces is composed mostly of dried blood.
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