So, your normally oh-so-laid-back dog has started to scratch constantly and it looks like there may be a bad case of fleas. The only real problem is that the only place you have let your pooch 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. It is even more painful for your four-legged friend, who might spend hours, and even days, scratching their skin raw.
But 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. Learn more about your dog and fleas at our Fleas in Dogs page.
Does My Dog Have Fleas?
While your pooch might occasionally scratch (because of dry skin, a random itch or even another completely different medical condition), when all they seem to do is itch and dig, it might be time to take a good look.
If you see tiny salt and pepper-like shapes on your pup's 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 the tail. Finally, you should be able to see the small red bite marks on your dog's skin, left as a parting gift from the 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 a prescribed flea shampoo. If your dog has long hair, you may want to comb through the fur using a fine-toothed flea comb to remove any dead fleas and eggs.
The next step involves using a flea treatment. These products are designed to kill adult fleas and their larvae for several weeks. Your veterinarian can provide a prescription treatment that will do the trick.
It is vital that you complete the vet-prescribed 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.
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
You cannot use the same flea treatments
Summer is here, the weather is warm, and you bring your dog out to romp around the backyard while you garden . 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 scratch and dig at his fur.
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 vet-recommended flea meds. Read more about treating fleas in our Condition Guide and take your furry friend to see his favorite vet for further diagnosis and treatment.