Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.

Fleas & Ticks – Why They Pose A Danger To Dogs

Rachel Poli Author
May 6 ·
fleas and ticks in dogs

Flea and ticks are the worst kinds of pests out there for your dog and for stray dogs. Luckily, we’ll explain what they are, what they do, how they pose a threat to your dog, and how you can combat these pests. 

What Are Fleas and Ticks?

Fleas and ticks are both different types of insects. They’re dangerous bugs that pose a threat to humans in addition to dogs. However, they’re attracted to dogs first.

A dog’s fur is warm and snuggly, which is precisely what fleas and ticks are attracted to. So they’ll make their home in your dog’s fur, feeding off of their blood.

While fleas and ticks are more common in warmer months, they can occur yearly.

Fleas can latch themselves onto your dog anytime they’re outside. For example, if you’ve taken your dog for a hike in the woods, you’ll want to check them for fleas and ticks after. In addition, they can easily catch fleas and ticks while exploring the backyard.

Female fleas can lay up to 40 to 50 eggs per day. So, if you’re not aware that your dog has fleas, there can be an infestation in your home within a couple of days.

On the other hand, ticks can be found anywhere outside. They love warm environments, so they can even make their home in your house if they manage to get in. Then, they’ll latch onto your pets or even you.

Why Are Fleas and Ticks Dangerous to Dogs?

These pests can make your dog extremely ill if they’re not noticed right away. For example, both insects will suck on your dog’s blood.

Ticks can cause diseases, while fleas can also cause illness and take over your entire time. Fleas can nuzzle themselves onto your furniture, in your carpets, on your clothes, and more. But then, it’s challenging to get rid of all of the fleas.

How To Tell Your Dog Has Fleas

Your dog might have fleas in their fur if you notice the following:

  • Dark specks in their fur (flea droppings)
  • White specks in their fur (flea eggs)
  • Excessive licking or scratching
  • Scabs or hot spots on their skin

Fleas may cause a few health issues for your dog. For example, dogs can develop anemia.

Anemia may occur when your dog loses too much blood. Fleas can suck as much blood as 15 times their weight. Considering how tiny fleas are, that’s a lot of blood! Anemia drops the red blood cells.

If you notice your dog’s gums are pale or they’re lethargic, then those may be signs of them having anemia. 

In addition, your dog may also be allergic to fleas. Once a flea bites into your dog’s skin, the saliva may cause an allergic reaction. Therefore, you may notice symptoms, such as:

  • Intense itching
  • Hair loss (especially in the front of the tail)
  • Scabs
  • Red, irritated skin (forming skin infections)

How To Tell If Your Dog Has Ticks

Ticks will attach themselves to your dog’s skin. You’ll typically be able to find them around the dog’s neck, ears, somewhere near the head, or on their paws. However, ticks can hold onto your dog anywhere.

If you’re patting your dog and you feel a small bump, be sure to check it out. If it’s a tick, remove it as soon as possible.

Tick-bourne illnesses may occur, and they are dangerous to dogs. For example, your dog may end up getting the following diseases:

  • Lyme Disease
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Ehrlichiosis

All of these diseases have similar symptoms. So, if you notice a loss of appetite, fever, swollen lymph nodes, or joint swelling or pain in our dog, then you’ll need to get them checked out by the vet right away.

Ticks can also cause skin irritation or infection, allergies, or tick paralysis.

How To Remove A Tick From A Dog

The best way to remove ticks is to protect yourself and the dog. So put on some gloves and grab tweezers.

Then, grab the tick by its head with the tweezers. Pull upward to the tick unstuck. Be careful not to twist (or the head may detach from its body but still stay stuck to your dog). Also, be careful not to pop the tick’s belly.

After, dispose of the tick. Then wash the area the tick was on your dog thoroughly. Finally, throw away your disposable gloves, wash the tweezers, and wash your hands well. 

Fleas and Ticks on Street Dogs

Unfortunately, fleas and ticks are the most common cause of diseases in street dogs.

This is because street dogs are outside all the time. These pests don’t know what else to latch themselves onto, so they attach themselves to stray dogs.

Sadly, strays don’t have the tools to help them combat fleas and ticks. For instance, they can’t get tweezers themself and pull the ticks off of them.

Also, they don’t have the right vaccinations in their system to stave off such illnesses, such as Lyme Disease.

What To Do If You Find A Street Dog With Fleas And Ticks

The best way to help a street dog with fleas and ticks is to bring them to a vet or a nearby shelter. The shelter will care for them.

However, it may not be easy to catch them since most strays are slow to trust. But, if you’re able, and it’s safe to do so, you may be able to get rid of the fleas and ticks on the dog yourself.

Of course, the safest option is to file a “found dog” report with your local rescue or shelter. Then, they can try to catch the dog and help it.

Be Careful of These Pests

Fleas and ticks are awful insects that will not only harm your dog, but they’ll harm you, infest your house, and harm your other pets at home.

There are precautions you can take to combat these pests, though. Also, know the signs and symptoms so you can keep your dogs safe. 

Rachel Poli Author
Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.
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