Flea bites are red, swollen spots that are extremely itchy!
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 the flea 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.
There are several classic symptoms of a bite from a flea, including:
There are three main types of flea that infest humans; the dog flea, the cat flea, and the human flea.
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.
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:
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!
Photo Credits - in
order of viewing:
1. F.C.G at http://www.fotolia.com/id/43753837
2. Author's own photograph