Fleas are blood sucking insects that are only about 2.5mm long. Although tiny their bite only leaves a tiny red mark on your dog the bite will cause your dog to scratch almost constantly. The Itch is caused by the salvia of the flea, which they use to thin the blood and helps the flea dine on the blood of your dog. Once fed the flea will drop to the floor to find a mate and lay eggs around your home.
An Adult Flea can live on your dog for between 1 and 2 weeks leaving flea dirt close to the skin. This looks like dark flecks on dirt in your dog’s coat. This is the faeces of the flea; it will contain a high percentage of blood. If this is placed on some blotting paper and a drop of water added you still see the blood on the paper.
The life cycle of the flea is very similar to the caterpillar. The female flea can lay 20 to 30 eggs a day, which hatch into Larvae. The Larvae feed on tiny particles of dead skin cells, flea dirt (left behind by the previous generation) and dander. The Larvae then encases itself into the Pupae stage, from which the immature flea emerges. These immature fleas need to find themselves a host on which to feed to enable to cycle to continue.
Adult Fleas only make up 10% of the population, with 50% being eggs, 25% Larvae and 15% Pupae.
Most flea treatments available in shops are not very effective at controlling fleas. The more effective treatments are available from your vet and specialist online veterinary pharmacies. Remember to break the cycle you will have to treat your home as well as your dog .