How to detect fleas on your dogs and remove them
Fleas are external parasites and not internal parasites like tapeworms or heart worms. Fleas look round or oval in shape with tiny legs. They cling to the bodies of the dogs and suck their blood.
If you notice or observe that your dogs are scratching themselves very often, you should brush their hair and see if there are any fleas there. If there is a major flea infestation, it should be very obvious as you are likely to see a few of them falling off their bodies. If this is the case, I strongly suggest that you take your dogs to the vet for immediate treatment. You will also need to clean the physical environment that your dogs roam around including their crates and beds.
However, it is likely that you may find a few fleas on your dogs if you have been grooming them well. They are likely to have gotten these fleas when they are taken to unfamiliar places for a walk or from other dogs that they might have met outside.
Besides brushing the dogs with a comb, I always use my hands to brush their body and I find that I am able to detect the fleas better this way. Pay particular attention to areas around their necks, groin, legs and base of their tails. Whenever I feel a small lump, I will part the hair to locate the flea. I will use either a tissue or put a small plastic bag over my hands, using it as a glove, to peel the flea off the body. I will then use my slipper or sandal to kill the flea. Most of the time, you will see the blood splatter over the dead flea. So if you do a body search with your hands regularly, you should be able to detect any presence of fleas and even ticks on your dogs.
However, you may not be comfortable with brushing and peeling the fleas off the dogs, there are products like flea collars, spray and shampoo. You may want to use them regularly or periodically as part of your grooming regime. You must read and follow the instructions closely in order for them to be effective when applied on the dogs.
Once I have found a few fleas on my dogs, I would do daily body search on them and at the same time apply a medication like Frontline which is very effective in keeping the fleas and ticks at bay. I would also check their crates and beds and clean them daily to ensure that there is a clean environment and the fleas has not gone there to seek refuge. I would also use a spray on the surroundings that the dogs roam and rest in the house.
For those living in countries with four seasons, it is found that the fleas and ticks breed more quickly in spring and leading to major infestations in summer. Fleas can still breed during the cold seasons like autumn and winter due to central heating in homes.
If you maintain good hygiene and regular grooming regime for your dogs, the chances of a flea infestation is very slim. However, because your dogs may pick a flea or two from other dogs or when they are out for walks in the woods, you will have to be diligent and take immediate actions once you have detected the presence of a flea.