Flea Bites On Humans And Dogs

Need to know more about flea bites on humans and dogs? Learn how to identify a flea bite, how to treat them and the best way of getting rid of your dog's fleas, fast!

How to Recognize Dog Flea Bites

...On Humans

There are three main types of flea that infest humans; dog fleas, cat fleas, and then there's the human flea.

This photo shows a reaction to a flea bite. You can see the redness around the puncture wound. Where the skin was broken, it is deep red, and you can see a very small hole in the skin.A flea bite on human skin

You'll usually find a few bites clustered together (or in a line) around the ankles, legs or feet.

However, fleas aren't choosy about where they dine, they can bite pretty much anywhere, especially if you allow your Cocker Spaniel to sleep on your bed!

When a flea bites it releases an enzyme (an anti-coagulant which ensures that the blood flows freely) which is what causes the inflammation, irritation, and lumps or blisters.

They usually start out as small red spots, hardly noticeable...until they itch and you begin to scratch them.

After scratching, the area around the bite becomes a pinkish red and the centre can darken slightly, and may swell and/or bleed. 

If you look closely, you'll see the puncture wound in the centre of the bite where the flea pierced the skin.

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

...On Dogs

Fleas can also pass on tapeworms if they're carrying them, so keep an eye on your dog's stool. If you see any indication that your dog may have tapeworms, make an appointment for your Spaniel to see his vet.

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.

Symptoms of bites from fleas are set out below.

Symptoms of Flea Bites on Dogs

If your Cocker Spaniel is unlucky enough to pick up these unwelcome parasites, you'll soon know about it. Here are some signs that your dog may have fleas:

  • He'll become fairly preoccupied with his grooming as he tries to get rid of the fleas; nipping, biting and licking himself, particularly near the end of his tail.

  • He'll probably do a lot of frenzied scratching too, which could lead to the bite(s) becoming infected.

  • You may see tiny red marks or lumps on his skin, similar to flea bites on human skin;

  • If you look at his coat closely, and you see what look like small coffee grounds, it's likely to be dried blood. If you place a sample onto a sheet of white paper, add a drop of water, and you notice the grains turning red...Bingo, your dog has fleas!

  • If your Spaniel is unlucky, he may suffer from an allergic reaction to the bites (or flea debris) and could begin to lose patches of hair as a result;

  • The bites may cause him some pain if they become infected, and depending on how sensitive your dog's skin is, more intense itching;

It's amazing that such tiny little insects can cause so many problems for you and your dog! If you'd like to know more about bites from fleas you'll find some good information on this site.

Treating Flea Bites

Treating Bites On Humans

One of the best treatments for a flea bite is not to scratch, but as this is an almost automatic reaction to a bite, I won't even go there!

This is a particularly severe reaction to flea bites on human skin. There are a few red, raised blisters on the skin, and in the centre are the puncture wounds.A severe reaction to flea bites

First of all clean the area with an antiseptic soap or liquid.

Then the bites may be treated easily using products bought over the counter, such as:

  • Antihistamine cream;
  • Hydro-cortisone cream;
  • Benadryl cream;
  • Calamine lotion;
  • Aloe-Vera gel;
  • Any other lotions or creams specially formulated for bites;
  • An ice pack.

A paste of baking soda and water is also said to alleviate the symptoms of bites.

If after two or three days none of the above seems to be working, or your bites appear to be worsening, it's probably advisable for you to visit your doctor.

This photo shows a fairly serious reaction to being bitten by fleas after allowing the dog (complete with fleas) to sleep on the bed.

In most cases bites from fleas don't necessitate a visit to the doctors.  

However, you should be aware that fleas often carry tapeworms. You won't know whether or not you have tapeworms until you see the obvious signs in your stool, in which case you will need to see your doctor. 

Treating Bites On Dogs

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

If his skin is suffering as a result of the bites, depending on the severity, all that may be needed is a little Aloe-Vera to calm the area. For anything more than a little redness, you may need to discuss this with your vet. 

As for killing the fleas and preventing further infestations, you can buy many effective treatments on-line or at pet shops, although for some products, you may need to obtain a prescription from your vet.

Getting Rid of Dog Fleas

To keep those flea bites at bay, you'll need to make sure you get rid of those pesky critters!

They can be very difficult get rid of which is why it's important to give your dog an effective flea treatment each month.

Don't just rely on flea treatments though. Check your pet often. I inspect Max's coat each evening when he's lying quietly, but I also take a look every time I see him scratch!

Because our Cocker Spaniels are usually the culprits for flea infestations in the home, it's essential to get rid of fleas from your dog first. Make sure his sleeping area is really clean and wash his bedding regularly.

Next, treat your home. Vacuum carpets and rugs every day for at least 10 days or until there are no more fleas, otherwise you'll continue to have unwanted lodgers for many months.

You can learn how to get rid of fleas on your dog here and get rid of those annoying parasites for good!