If you’re a pet owner, you’re likely aware of how annoying and itchy fleas can be to your pets, but have you thought about the problems they can cause when they jump from your pets and infest your home? While they may be simple enough to identify, getting rid of them is a different story. However, if you know what to look for, you can get ahead of a flea infestation before it takes over your entire house. Read on to learn how to identify fleas in your home so you can avoid these pesky bugs and keep your home, pets, and family safe.
With dogs and cats being fleas’ favorite victims, your pet may likely be your first indicator of a flea problem. If you notice that the furriest member of your family is itching more than usual, this may be a sign you have a flea infestation on your hands.
Visible Bugs on Cats and Dogs
If you see your pets itching their skin, the next step is to take a look at their fur. On dogs, fleas tend to stay on the back legs and haunches, where there is a lot of fur to hide in and lots of skin to bite. On cats, their favorite hiding places are on the front haunches and on the neck near the collar. If you suspect fleas on your dogs and cats, check these problem areas first. To identify a flea, look for:
- Flat, dark bugs
- Insects that are about 2.5 millimeters in length
- Bugs with six long legs that allow them to jump distances much longer than their bodies
- If you see bugs on your pets that match these criteria, you’ll want to act fast.
Powder Deposits on Bedding
It’s not just your pets that might show signs of fleas—your pet’s bedding and even your own bedding can give you a clue as well. One telltale sign of fleas in your home is powdery white and black deposits on bedding. The white stuff is flea eggs, while the black deposits are flea excrement. If you notice these deposits on your bedding or even in your carpet, there is a good chance you’re sharing your home with fleas.
Red Bumps and Welts
Once fleas make their way into your home, they will start snacking on any food source they can find—including you and your loved ones. However, since people don’t have fur like pets do, it’s much easier see where fleas may have bitten you or your children. Bites are painful and show up as red bumps and welts on the skin. If you’ve noticed red bites on your skin or the skin of your children, you might want to investigate further to see if fleas are to blame.
Once you have identified that fleas are on your pets, you will want to take steps to ensure that they don’t hop off your dog or cat and make themselves at home. If you think fleas are the culprit that’s invaded your home, you should:
- Quickly bathe your pets in anti-flea shampoo
- Wash pet beds and linens in hot water, and dry on the hottest setting
- Treat your dogs and cats with veterinarian-recommended flea preventative
- Call in the experts
Get Lasting Relief
Developing a flea problem in your home is as easy as the insects hitching a ride on your beloved pets. Even if you don’t have pets, you can still get fleas from neighboring animals or yards. Unfortunately, getting fleas out of your house once and for all is more difficult. While DIY methods might work for a while, to remove fleas from your home effectively and keep them out for the long term, professional help may be required. With professional treatments, you can feel comfortable knowing your family and pets are safe from fleas.