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    Fleas on Dogs: What to Look For

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    What Should I Do If I Think My Dog Has Fleas?

    Consult your veterinarian, who will confirm the diagnosis and discuss appropriate treatment options. It is important to tailor your treatment to your pet and his environment, since certain products in combination can be toxic. Your veterinarian can also determine the best plan for preventing fleas in the future.

    How Do I Treat Fleas?

    • It is important that all of your pets are treated for fleas, including indoor and outdoor cats, and that the environment is treated as well.
    • Speak with your veterinarian about choosing the right flea treatment product. Common options include a topical, liquid treatment applied to the back of the neck, shampoos, sprays and powders. Some products kill both adult fleas and their eggs, but they can vary in efficacy. It is very important not to use products on your dog that are intended for cats (and vice versa). Prescription products are generally more effective and safer than over-the-counter products.
    • Thoroughly clean your house, including rugs, bedding and upholstery. (Remember to discard any vacuum bags.) In severe cases, you might consider using a spray or fogger, which requires temporary evacuation of the home.

    How Can I Prevent Fleas?

    Using a flea comb on your dog and washing his bedding once a week will go a long way toward controlling flea infestation. Also, it is important to treat your yard as thoroughly as your house. Concentrate on shady areas, where fleas live, and use an insecticide or nematodes, microscopic worms that kill flea larvae.

    WebMD Veterinary Reference from ASPCA Virtual Pet Behaviorist

    The ASPCA Virtual Pet Behaviorist specializes in the resolution and management of pet behavior problems only. Please do not submit questions about medical problems here. Only licensed veterinarians can diagnose medical conditions. If you think that your pet is sick, injured or experiencing any kind of physical distress, please contact his veterinarian immediately. A delay in seeking proper veterinary care may worsen your pet's condition and put his life at risk. If you are concerned about the cost of veterinary care, please read our resources on finding financial help.
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