What Are Flea Bites?

How Will I Know I've Been Bitten
And What Can I Do To Treat A Bite?

Flea bites are red, swollen spots that are extremely itchy!

This is a particularly severe reaction to flea bites on human skin

A bite from a flea is a puncture wound and, if you look closely, you'll see the puncture spot in the center of the bite.

You'll usually find a few bites clustered together and they can remain red and itchy for quite a long time - up to several weeks - especially if you're allergic to them!

When it bites, it releases an anti-coagulant to ensure the blood flows freely - it's this that causes the inflammation, irritation, and lumps or blisters.

If your Cocker Spaniel is unlucky enough to pick up these unwelcome parasites, you'll soon know it. He'll become fairly preoccupied with his grooming and cleaning as he tries to get rid of the fleas.

He'll do a lot of scratching too!

This frenzied scratching that tends to accompany a bite could leave your dog susceptible to infection, allergic dermatitis, and subsequent poor health; secondary infection caused by scratching is quite common.

As well as irritation and infection, dog fleas can transmit serious diseases such as bubonic plague and typhus.

In severe cases, your dog may become anaemic as a result of blood loss from many bites and subsequent feeding, leading to lethargy and weakness, weight loss, pale gums and breathlessness.

Fleas can also pass on tapeworms if they're carrying them - if you believe your dog has tapeworms, we recommend you visit your vet immediately for correct diagnosis and treatment.

It's amazing that such tiny little insects can cause so many problems for you and your dog!

It's really important, therefore, to be vigilant when grooming your Cocker Spaniel, and to ensure you regularly treat your dog for fleas.


Symptoms Of Flea Bites On Dogs

There are several classic symptoms of a bite from a flea, including:

  • Frequent scratching, biting or nibbling, and licking - particularly towards the end of your dog's tail;

  • Tiny red marks or lumps similar to bites from fleas seen on human skin;

  • Patches of hair loss;

  • Pain, and depending on how sensitive your dog's skin is, more intense itching.


Flea Bites On Humans

There are three main types of flea that infest humans; the dog flea, the cat flea, and the human flea.

The reaction to this flea bite is more typical than that shown in the example above

Fleas can bite anywhere on the human body, but bites are usually found around the waist (under warm, dark waistbands as in the photo above), behind the knees, and on the feet and lower legs.

They can be extremely itchy, and depending upon how sensitive you are, the bites may vary from being simply a red mark with a puncture wound in the middle to a red, angry, swollen lump which may bleed when scratched.

As domestic animals, such as dogs and cats, are usually the culprits for flea infestations in the home, it's therefore very important to ensure their sleeping area and bedding are kept scrupulously clean and that your pets are treated for fleas regularly.


Treatment Of Flea Bites

Your vet will be able to recommend a flea treatment product for your dog, and there are many safe, effective flea treatments available on-line or at pet shops, although for some products, you may need to obtain a prescription from your vet.

Alternatively, you may choose to consider using a natural flea control for your pet.

Humans can treat bites from fleas easily, using products bought over the counter, such as:

  • Antihistamine cream;
  • Hydro-cortisone cream;
  • Antiseptic soap or liquid;
  • Calamine lotion;
  • Lotions and creams specially formulated for bites;
  • An ice pack.

One of the best treatments for flea bites is...not to scratch! However, this is always much easier said than done.

If you have been bitten by fleas, you may also need to treat against possible tapeworms.

If none of the above seems to be working, or your bites appear to be worsening, we recommend you visit your doctor.

To get rid of fleas, both from your dog and out of your house, you must break the flea life cycle. Treat your home, your dog and his bedding, and vacuum carpets regularly - otherwise you'll continue to have unwanted lodgers for many months.

Learn more about the flea life cycle and get rid of those pesky parasites for good!




Flea bites can be annoying and can make you and your dog's life miserable.

They can also lead to health problems if not treated and the problem of flea infestation not tackled adequately.

That's why getting rid of ticks and dog fleas quickly and methodically is vital to maintaining your Cocker Spaniel's health and keeping him in tip-top condition!


Relevant Titles In The Dog Fleas And Dog Ticks Series

What Do Fleas Look Like close up?

How to I go about getting rid of fleas on my Cocker?

We're often too wrapped up in getting rid of those unwelcome parasites on our dogs that we also overlook the fact that if our Cocker Spaniel has 'lodgers', our carpets and sofas will too! Learn more about getting rid of fleas in your home and your carpets.

If your dog regularly enjoys running through fields and meadows, or is walked where there's lots of vegetation, you might want to read up a little on dog ticks and how to remove them safely.


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