Most dog owners at least try to remember to flea-treat their dogs according to an appropriate schedule, and whilst there are a lot of myths and misunderstandings about dog fleas and how to prevent and eradicate them, there are just as many about how and where dogs get fleas in the first place.
For instance, a common dog flea misconception is that fleas are dormant in the winter and so you don’t need to flea-treat your dog when the weather is cooler; but fleas can an still do thrive and remain alive and fully viable in our homes and on our dogs all year round, and they’re nice and warm there too!
The need to flea-treat dogs regularly to both eradicate any fleas present and prevent more moving in is also something that is poorly understood by a lot of dog owners; and whilst flea treatments protect the dog from infestation for its term of action, some don’t afford the dog protection against future infestation. Dogs come into contact with fleas and places they might pick up fleas all the time too, and not all dog owners are aware of quite how many places harbour fleas and so, the need to be vigilant about flea treatment!
If you’re wondering where dogs get fleas from and the types of places and situations that will expose your dog to fleas, this article has the answers. Read on to learn where dogs pick up fleas… And to see how it is more or less impossible to avoid them.
The most common and perhaps most obvious cause of transmission of fleas in dogs is by contact with other dogs. Dogs are highly social animals that need to spend time with others, and most dogs come into close contact with several other dogs every day when out on their walks.
Dog fleas can and will jump hosts quickly, particularly when dogs come into direct physical contact with each other. However, they won’t affect a dog that is up to date with a good flea treatment protocol.
Dogs have their very own species of flea, but they can also pick up cat fleas, and even species-specific fleas aren’t that picky about hosts. Dogs can get fleas from pets like cats and any other animals that can harbour fleas too, including rabbits and other small furries.
Most wildlife is infested with fleas, and that includes foxes, hedgehogs, and more or less anything else you can think of, including of course rodents and rabbits. Dogs can pick up fleas from wildlife very easily, often will when out on walks.
Additionally, if your dog eats or rolls in roadkill or other dead and decaying wildlife, the fleas that have lost their host will be more than keen to jump ship to your nice warm and delicious dog.
Fleas can also live in the general outdoor environment, in long grass and so on. They tend to be dormant outdoors in the winter (but still active on animals and in homes) but your dog can pick up fleas just from their surrounding area in spring and summer.
From their own home and accessories
Homes and accessories can harbour fleas and keep on re-infesting a dog and other animals if the home isn’t properly treated with the relevant products regularly to keep this from happening.
Carpets, curtains, sofas, beds and bedding and of course dog beds and accessories all harbour fleas if not treated.
Even if your own home is flea treated and totally clear, your friends or neighbours’ homes might not be; your dog can pick up fleas when visiting other people too, usually those with pets but in some cases, even those without as fleas can thrive and/or lay in wait for a host without food for some time.
From dog-friendly places like pet stores and pubs that welcome dogs
Places that welcome pets like pet shops, some pubs, cafes and so on can be great destinations for dog owners to socialise and take their dogs with them, but they can also be a great place to swap fleas.
This is particularly likely to be the case in places with carpets (like pubs) as carpets often harbour fleas, but pet stores too, where there are lots of soft pet bedding and toys as well as a lot of animals passing through, can serve as an effective flea rehoming centre too.
If you buy beds or soft dog toys from pet stores that allow dogs in, it is a good idea to wash them or treat them with a dog-safe home flea product before you put them out in your home.
Ultimately, fleas can be found in the environment in a startling array of places, and there is simply no way to stop your dog from being exposed to them, or preventing them potentially picking up unwanted passengers.
However, as long as your dog is treated with a good quality vet approved flea prevention treatment to the appropriate schedule, and your home is treated as necessary too, you won’t have to worry, and your dog should remain flea-free.