So, your normally oh-so-laid-back dog has started to scratch himself silly and it looks like he might have a bad case of fleas. The only real problem is that the only place you have let him go outside and play is in the backyard. The only thing out there is an acre of lawn-- can dogs get fleas from grass?
Can Dogs Get Fleas from Grass?
To put it quite simply, yes, your dog can get fleas from the grass. Fleas jump onto an animal to feed on their blood and then as soon as they have fed tend to jump right back off, which is how they end up in your grass to start with.
There is no doubt that trying to get rid of a flea infestation can be a royal pain in the you-know-where. It is even more painful for your four-legged friend who might spend hours and even days scratching himself raw.
But hey, your dog is not the only one who can get fleas from the grass. Yes, that's right: you can too. You can bring them in on your shoes, socks, pant legs, and virtually any other type of cloth or fur. And worse yet, they will bite you and cause you to itch like crazy as well.
So, yes, your dog can most certainly get fleas from the grass around your home, in the park, and virtually anywhere that other animals frequent. He can even get them from other dogs! Learn more about your dog and fleas at our Fleas in Dogs page.
Does My Dog Have Fleas?
While Rover might occasionally scratch himself (he might have dry skin, a random itch or even another completely different medical condition), when all he seems to do anymore is scratch, it might be time to take a good look.
If you see tiny salt and pepper like shapes on his body, you may be looking at flea eggs or digested blood that the adult fleas have excreted (flea dirt).
You should also be able to see any live fleas crawling around, especially on your dog’s belly and around the base of his tail.
Finally, you should be able to see the small red bite marks on his skin left as a parting gift from his tiny unwelcome passengers.
For more details, check out our guide to Fleas in Dogs.
How Do I Treat My Dog's Fleas?
To be sure, you don't want to roll out the red carpet, in fact quite the opposite, you need to kill both the live fleas and the eggs or your poor pup will simply become re-infested in a couple of weeks.
There are several treatment options to help get rid of the fleas once and for all. The first thing most vets recommend is to give your best friend a good flea bath using an over-the-counter flea shampoo.
If your dog has long hair, you may want to comb through his hair using a fine-toothed flea comb to remove any dead fleas and eggs.
The next step involves using a flea treatment, such as Frontline® or Advantage®. These products are designed to kill adult fleas and their larvae for several weeks. If these do not seem to be working for you, your veterinarian should be able to provide a prescription treatment that will do the trick.
Whether you treat your dog’s flea problems yourself or go see the vet, it is vital that you complete the treatment cycle or the infestation will return. Once all of the fleas and their eggs have been destroyed, the bites will fade away in a relatively short time, and your four-legged buddy will no longer feel the need to scratch himself silly.
How Are Fleas Similar in Dogs Similar and Humans?
Although you may have never suffered from a flea infestation in quite the same manner as your dog, it doesn't mean you haven't been bitten a few times. There are a few ways in which flea bites are the same in both humans and dogs, including:
Tiny red bite marks
A high reproduction rate that can lead to a rapid infestation
Potential for anemia
How Are Fleas Different in Dogs and Humans?
From a scientific point of view, you and your dog share a lot of similarities when it comes to your anatomies. However, there are a few ways in which the flea bites your canine friend suffers from differ from those you are likely to get.
Anemia in dogs can be fatal if left untreated
You are far less likely to become infested, as you lack copious amounts of body hair (or, at least most people do)
You cannot use the same flea treatments
You should never be seen wearing a flea collar!
Summer is here, the weather is warm, and you sent Rover out to romp around the backyard for the day. He looks like he is having a blast and finds himself a nice shady place to lay down out of the sun. Later that night all he seems to be interested in is trying to claw his own skin off.
You make him lay down and examine his belly. To your utter shock and horror, his belly seems to be alive with little black dots crawling all over the place and leaving tiny red welts everywhere they go. Yes, that's right: your best friend was kind enough to bring in a few dozen unwelcome guests in the form of fleas.
Time to give him a nice warm flea bath and then treat him with one of the recommended over the counter flea meds. If the infestation is too bad or the OTC treatments don't work, read more about treating fleas in our Condition Guide or take your furry friend to see his favorite vet for further diagnosis and treatment.