About Fleas on Dogs and Flea Control

View video transcript

[Dr. Jeff Werber:
Dealing with fleas is a very common and annoying problem for pet owners. Chances are, your dog will encounter these thirsty little bloodsuckers at some point. These tiny pests can be hard to spot. Fleas can’t fly. But they can jump up to 8 inches high, making your dog an easy target. And they can be more than just annoying. They can pose a serious danger to the health and well-being of your pets and family.

The saliva from flea bites can trigger an extremely unpleasant skin allergy in your dog. Severe flea infestations can produce blood disorders, especially in puppies or older dogs with other health conditions, and ingested fleas can even cause intestinal tapeworm infections. So let’s take a closer look at the flea life cycle.

Fleas live off the blood of their host – whether that’s your dog, your cat or a wild animal. Once a flea jumps onto your dog, it only needs a few seconds to begin feasting. Fleas must feed a lot in order to reproduce. A female flea consumes 15 times her body weight in blood every day. Once she’s made a meal of your dog, she’ll start laying eggs in less than 48 hours. Female fleas produce 40 to 50 eggs a day and they usually lay their eggs right in your dog’s hair. Many of these eggs will fall off of your dog, spreading the infestation all over your home and yard.

Flea larvae, which are similar to maggots, hatch in just one to six days. At this stage, they like to live deep in carpeting or under furniture. Outside, they develop best in shaded areas or in yard debris. The larvae build a cocoon to help them grow and mature into adults. The adult flea can emerge from the cocoon in just 13 days. However, a fully developed flea can remain inside the cocoon for nearly a year, which is why infestations can sometimes pop up out of nowhere. Once out of the cocoon, adult fleas begin searching for their next meal, and the whole itchy cycle begins again. Most people don’t realize that in many areas, adult fleas can survive throughout the winter on pets and wildlife, so the threat never truly goes away.

If your dog is showing signs of excessive scratching, check his skin and coat for the presence of adult fleas. Using a fine-toothed comb can help. And also look for signs of ”flea dirt,“ the dried blood and waste left behind after a flea feasts on your dog. If you find evidence of fleas on your dog, it’s important to take action right away. Fleas reproduce so quickly, you’ll want to fight back before the infestation has a chance to grow. There are many different types of flea treatment options available. Talk to your veterinarian about which one is right for your dog.

If your home is already infested, you can help eliminate flea eggs and larvae by steam cleaning your carpets and upholstery, washing all bedding weekly and using flea sprays as recommended by your veterinarian. If you have other pets at home, ask your veterinarian to recommend an approved flea product. The best way to fight fleas is to kill them before they can reproduce, so talk to your veterinarian about how a monthly parasite protection routine can help you keep fleas off your dog all year-round.

Ask about Trifexis, the combination product that kills fleas and prevents infestations, prevents heartworm disease, and treats and controls hookworm, roundworm and whipworm infections. See the full product label for complete safety information.

Serious adverse reactions have been reported following concomitant extra-label use of ivermectin with spinosad alone, one of the components of Trifexis. Treatment with fewer than three monthly doses after the last exposure to mosquitoes may not provide complete heartworm prevention.

Prior to administration of Trifexis, dogs should be tested for existing heartworm infection. Use with caution in dogs with pre-existing epilepsy. The most common adverse reactions reported are vomiting, depression, itching and decreased appetite. To ensure heartworm prevention, observe your dog for one hour after administration. If vomiting occurs within an hour of administration, redose.]

Fast Flea Control for Your Dog

Flea control is a vital part of caring for the dog you love so much, not to mention helping to prevent infestations in your home from these tiny blood-sucking pests.

Spinosad, one of the active ingredients of Trifexis® (spinosad + milbemycin oxime), protects your dog against fleas and starts killing fleas fast. It started killing fleas within 30 minutes and was proven 100% effective within 4 hours after administration in a controlled laboratory study.

Trifexis is flea medicine for dogs that:

  • Lasts a full month
  • Kills fleas before they can lay eggs
  • Can't be rubbed, washed or shaken off

Trifexis protects your dog from more than just fleas. It also protects against heartworm disease and intestinal parasites (adult hookworm*, roundworm and whipworm infections). Trifexis is approved for use in dogs and puppies 8 weeks of age and older and 5 pounds or greater. 

*A. caninum

See the 3-in-1 power of Trifexis

Why worry about fleas on dogs? 

Adult fleas are tiny, reddish-brown insects that can make your dog itchy and miserable. They’re visible to the naked eye but are so tiny you might not even see them. It makes fleas difficult to detect, much less eliminate from your home.

Fleas have incredible jumping ability, which enables them to easily leap onto your dog from ground level and begin feeding on your dog’s blood in just seconds. Within 24 hours of its first blood meal, a flea can begin laying eggs, which can quickly lead to an infestation.1 If you see little specks of “flea dirt” on your dog’s skin—the undigested blood excreted by fleas—you’ve likely got an infestation.

Fleas can pose a serious problem for your dog’s health.

  • Fleas can cause severe discomfort for dogs, including scratching, chewing, biting and restlessness.
  • Severe flea infestations can cause anemia, especially in puppies or debilitated adult dogs.
  • Ingested fleas can also transmit tapeworm infection to dogs.

Dog Fleas can also pose health risks for your family.1

Your dog isn't the only household resident that can suffer from flea bites. Flea infestations can lead to you and your family experiencing bites from newly emerging fleas, which can put you and your family at risk for health issues.

fleas life cycle2

Understanding the lifecycle of a flea (Ctenocephalides felis) helps you protect your dog and your home from fleas. It shows you why it's critical to kill fleas quickly, before they can lay eggs and create a flea infestation in your home.

Fleas Life Cycle

Fleas Sizes

Controlling fleas in your home

View video transcript

[Dr. Jeff Werber:
If you still see fleas on your dog after starting a monthly flea treatment program, it doesn’t necessarily mean the treatment isn’t working. Your dog can continue to be exposed to the fleas encountered outside, from other dogs and animals untreated pets in or around your home, or by flea eggs and larvae still present inside your home.

In fact, the fleas you see on your dog make up just 5% of all the fleas in your pet’s environment. The remaining 95% are in the in the egg, larvae and pupae stages. To eliminate these pests, vacuum frequently, and steam clean carpet and upholstery where fleas like to hide. Wash bedding every week, and keep all pets protected against fleas with an approved treatment regimen from your veterinarian.

Fleas can remain dormant in your house for nearly a year, so you’ve got to stay on your guard and use a flea treatment that kills fleas fast - before they can lay more eggs. Once the fleas are gone, prevent further infestations from coming back by treating your dog all year round.

Ask about Trifexis, the combination product that kills fleas and prevents infestations, prevents heartworm disease, and treats and controls hookworm, roundworm and whipworm infections. See the full product label for complete safety information.

Serious adverse reactions have been reported following concomitant extra-label use of ivermectin with spinosad alone, one of the components of Trifexis. Treatment with fewer than three monthly doses after the last exposure to mosquitoes may not provide complete heartworm prevention. Prior to administration of Trifexis, dogs should be tested for existing heartworm infection. Use with caution in dogs with pre-existing epilepsy.

The most common adverse reactions reported are vomiting, depression, itching and decreased appetite. To ensure heartworm prevention, observe your dog for one hour after administration. If vomiting occurs within an hour of administration, redose.]

Even if your dog never leaves your house, she can be exposed to these blood-sucking parasites. That’s why preventing flea infestations before they disrupt your life is your best defense. 

Trifexis starts killing fleas on your dog before they can lay eggs. Trifexis lasts a whole month—it can’t be rubbed, washed or shaken off. It helps you protect the dog you love from enduring the discomfort of a flea infestation.

If you have more questions about fleas or Trifexis, you may find the answer on our frequently asked questions page.

See our FAQ page