Do All Dogs Get Fleas?

There are all these stereotypes and sayings about dogs and fleas. “If you lie down with dogs, you’ll get up with fleas.” But is that really true? Unfortunately, there is a bit of truth behind it. Not every dog has fleas all the time, but there is definitely a high risk of your dog contracting fleas at some point in time.

What are Fleas?

Fleas are parasitic insects that feed off the blood of other animals-in this case dogs, of course. They are very small, about the size of a piece of pencil lead. Although they can be seen, it is sometimes hard to spot them, due to their size, brown color, and the fact that they are almost constantly moving. Usually, you will see them by the base of your dog’s tail, between the ears, and on the abdomen.

Signs of Fleas

Everyone knows the most common sign of fleas: excessive scratching. Your dog, just like you, is going to scratch occasionally even if she doesn’t have fleas. But if you notice that she is scratching, licking, or biting herself more than usual, you might want to check for fleas. Other symptoms and signs include:

  • Hair loss
  • Hot spots on the skin
  • Tapeworms
  • Black spots, which are actually flea excrement

Taking Care of the Infestation

If you even suspect that your dog has fleas, it’s important to get the problem taken care of right away. In just a few days or weeks, a few fleas can multiply into a major infestation problem. Because fleas spend more time off the dog than on it, this can become a problem not just for your dog, but for the rest of your family as well.

Luckily, fleas are very easy to both prevent and treat.


There are many products that help kill fleas before they even become a problem. This includes a lot of medicines (such as heartworm preventives) that your dog should already be taking.

Flea Treatment

How you treat your dog’s fleas all depends on your dog, other health problems, and how big of a flea problem it is, so talk to your veterinarian about the possibilities. However, there are many types of treatments, including:

  • Shampoos
  • Sprays
  • Topical liquids
  • Flea collars

If your dog is allergic to flea saliva, there will also be some redness and inflammation. To fix this additional discomfort, your vet will give you extra medication.