Detecting fleas in dogs

How to Tell if your Dog has Fleas or Dry Skin

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 20, 2017
How to Tell if your Dog has Fleas or Dry Skin

Fleas on your dog may open the way for diseases that can become severe such as anemia or internal parasites such as intestinal tapeworms. Therefore, it is important that we make regular visits to the vet in order to rule out this little bug becoming a problem. So that you're prepared to recognise alarm signals, here at we can give you answer to the question how to know if your dog has fleas or dry skin.

You may also be interested in: How Does Spot on Flea Treatment for Dogs Work

Steps to follow:


If your dog scratches too much we may think that fleas are living on their skin. However, it is very common for dogs to scratch, so this signal can be confusing when it comes to detecting these insects. You should be concerned if your pet also tries to bite the skin in areas where it scratches.


The most direct way to check if your dog has fleas is doing a visual inspection of its hair and skin. It's something we should do on a weekly basis because when these animals are out to the street or the countryside it is not uncommon to become infected. You can tell fleas apart from dry skin easily: fleas are alive so when you try to check your dog's fur they will hide. Another way to tell them apart from dry skin is their color, as they are usually dark brown or even blac. They can go from 0.05 to 0.1 inches in size.

The best areas to check for fleas are the dog's armpits and their groins.

How to Tell if your Dog has Fleas or Dry Skin - Step 2

What we will detect more than the fleas themselves are their feces. The droppings of these insects are black but if they become wet them they will turn reddish. This is because fleas feed on the blood of the host animal.


To locate these excretions we can place a white towel under our dog and then brush the animal thoroughly. So if there are flea feces, they will not be too difficult to see on the white towel.


The skin of a dog that has fleas will be plagued by insect bites. Moreover, it is quite common that the bites are accompanied by an allergic reaction, so if your pet does not have very long hair, it is not difficult to see bites on his body.

How to Tell if your Dog has Fleas or Dry Skin - Step 5

You should pay attention to the surrounding area where your dog is usually around, as fleas will not stay on him but will spread around places such as its food bowl, sleeping area and water.

If they have spread around the house you can learn how to get rid of fleas in your home.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Tell if your Dog has Fleas or Dry Skin, we recommend you visit our Pets category.

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How to Tell if your Dog has Fleas or Dry Skin