Hair loss is a very real possibility when a dog or cat is infested with fleas. Fleas burrow their way into the pet’s fur where they feast on the host’s blood dozens of times per day. In fact, some studies suggest a single flea can bite into a host hundreds of times per day, each of which leaves behind a small and oftentimes painful wound.
Depending on the dog or cat’s reaction, they may respond by scratching and licking the area in an attempt to subside the intense burning and itching sensation. This is especially true in pets that suffer from Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD), which is a condition characterized by an intense allergic reaction triggered by the protein-rich saliva of fleas. When a flea bites into its host, it secretes a small amount of saliva that may trigger an allergic reaction.
Problems Associated With Scratching
Some owners may brush off their pet’s hair loss as nothing more than a minor behavioral issue that poses no real concern to the pet’s health. In reality, though, hair loss caused from flea bites is a serious problem that leaves the pet susceptible to infection, disease and mental stress.
If your dog or cat is scratching itself to the point where they are visible losing hair, there’s a good chance they are also scratching the top layer of skin off. If left untreated, this behavior will lead to open wounds that are prime targets for bacterial and viral infections. To make matters worse, the constant barrage of flea bites may lower your pet’s red blood cell count, making them even more more vulnerable to infection.
How To Stop Your Pet From Scratching Itself:
- Give your pet a warm bath with a medicated flea treatment shampoo to kill any current fleas hiding inside their fur and soothe the discomfort of flea bites.
- Try to keep your dog active and busy by going for walks, playing fetch, going for car rides, etc.
- Apply a preventative flea treatment medicine.
- Wash your pet’s bedding to eliminate any hidden fleas.
- If you can’t seem to keep fleas off your pet, take them to a veterinarian to have a professional flea dip performed.
- Don’t scold or punish your pet for scratching itself.
The only sure-fire way to prevent your pet from scratching itself is to treat the source of the problem: the flea infestation. If fleas continue to roam rampant in your home, they will continue to bite your pet, causing further pain and discomfort. Read through some of the previous articles published here at FleaBitesOnHuman.com for more information on how to eliminate fleas once and for all.