Can Fleas Kill a Dog?

Last Updated: 20.07.19

 

Even though many pet owners don’t think about fleas as a major issue, the truth is that these pesky insects can cause a lot of problems for other animals, which means that you need to make sure you keep them as far away as possible. If you want to find out more about how to get rid of them, there are plenty of online and offline resources that you can safely use.

One of the things that make fleas an issue to be taken seriously is the fact that they are extremely adaptable to various environments. For this reason, pet owners have to deal with them no matter the climate they live in. While some might think that fleas only lead to scratching and irritability, the implications of having them around your pets and home are much greater.

If you do want to know what the potential risks fleas pose are, then you are in the right place since we’ve decided to shed some light on the matter in the following lines. First of all, let’s take a look at just how dangerous fleas can be for pets.

 

“Fleas can kill a dog” – myth or reality?

Since these insects are so widespread around the world, we got used to the thought of their presence around our pets. It’s true that technology and various substances have also evolved throughout time and are today more effective than ever. On the other hand, you should not underestimate the damage these little creatures can cause.

Just to get an idea of what a flea infestation actually means for a pet, think about the fact that each individual needs to feed every few days. If we’re talking about large numbers and a severe infestation, they can definitely deplete other animals from vital red blood cells in a single feeding.

This, in turn, can lead to serious cases of anemia, particularly for sensitive categories of pets such as puppies, seniors, or those who are weakened by other circumstances. Moreover, if they are not dealt with quickly, fleas have the ability to multiply at an impressive rate, which in the medium term means that they can, in fact, kill their host pet, even if we’re talking about a dog.

For this reason, just like any other pest that brings problems along, fleas need to be dealt with right away. Another reason to think this way is that fleas can carry various diseases which could make things a lot harder for your dog, and this is something you probably want to avoid.

Flea allergy dermatitis

This is a condition that can manifest in pets when they are particularly sensitive to flea saliva. The process is a rather simple one but with many negative implications. When the flea bites in order to feed, it also injects saliva in the process in order to make things easier in terms of sucking the blood.

What you might not be aware of is that some pets are extremely allergic to this saliva, which causes their immune systems to react by secreting histamine and trying to counter the proteins it contains. Next, an allergic reaction occurs that causes a lot of issues for the pet, including irritation, excessive scratching, as well as inflammation across the skin.

The bad news is that even a single flea has the ability to cause intense scratching, which can also make the pet irritated, restless, anxious, and nervous. This is far from comfortable and, if it happens for extended periods, it can also affect a pet’s health from other points of view since it’s a permanent source of stress.

Another aspect that needs to be taken into consideration is that if your dog has an allergic reaction to flea bites, this can also lead to an anaphylactic shock, which means that immediate medical attention will be necessary. Otherwise, your pet can end up dying because of it.

In many cases, dogs and other pets that are exposed to flea bites develop a red rash that spreads in their groin area and on the belly. Most of the times there’s little or no fur left there since the animals keep on scratching and trying to bite or chew on these spots to lessen the itchiness.

Such a situation requires immediate medical attention. Not only is the pet highly uncomfortable and irritated as a result, but those areas can lead to serious skin infections that will most probably require a lot more time to heal and money spent on particular treatments.

 

Fleas around the house

Not only do fleas pose major problems for your pets, but if they are left untreated, they will quickly end up infesting your home as well. They can live happily within the furniture, carpets, and many other household items, and there is not too much stopping them from multiplying as well.

They have the ability to lay hundreds of thousands of eggs, so this is certainly not something that you should overlook. These pesky insects can cause dermatitis and other issues described above to cats as well.

If they get too comfortable within a home, fleas can pose health risks for the people living there since they will not hesitate to bite humans as well. This can lead to itchiness, irritation, discomfort, as well as to skin infections. Anemia can occur in humans as well, but this is the case only in extreme circumstances.

 

Tapeworms

Among the risks fleas bring into a pet’s life, there is also that of tapeworms. The process through which a pet can be infested with tapeworms through fleas is not a very complicated one, although it’s true that it tends to happen in cases where large numbers inhabit one pet.

Since fleas also bite rodents, possums, as well as many other types of animals (whether they are domestic or living in the wild), they can carry additional dangerous parasites. They then proceed to bite your pet which can end up getting infected by more than one parasite.

Preventive measures & solutions

Prevention is always better than treatment, so what you want to do is to make sure that your pets are protected against fleas throughout the year, or during the month when they are exposed to this risk. This also depends on the area you live in since fleas thrive in warmer conditions.

You can treat your home, carpets, and furniture from time to time, just to make sure that everything remains flea-free. Moreover, if you plan on bringing a new pet at home, you need to first pay a visit to the local vet for a proper check-up that might reveal any parasites before bringing him or her inside.

Sometimes, no matter how many preventive measures we take, fleas still manage to make their way into a home. While it’s true that if you quickly notice this and they don’t spread around, you won’t have too much trouble getting rid of them, there are also more severe cases.

The first step should always be to protect the pets and, if the problems persist, don’t hesitate to get an expert’s opinion that can do a special assessment and provide you with the most effective solution tailored for your particular needs.

 

 

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