How Do Dogs Get Fleas?

By: Chewy EditorialUpdated:

How Do Dogs Get Fleas?

With flea season upon us, many dog parents are interested in learning the best ways to avoid having to deal with a flea infestation in the first place.

“Fleas are the most common external parasite in North America,” said Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, staff doctor at NYC’s Animal Medical Center. “In the desert Southwest and the Rocky Mountain States, where the humidity is low, fleas are uncommon, but in other areas, fleas are found outdoors in cool shady areas, which is where most pets acquire them. They can also be spread at places like boarding kennels and doggie day care.”

Barring moving or never exposing your pet to other animals, there are ways to help your pet avoid flea bites, and it starts with understanding how your pet could get fleas in the first place. So, how do dogs get fleas?

Dr. Hohenhaus shared the most common ways she’s seen dogs contract flea bites, so you can be prepared and take steps to keep fleas off your pups.

How Do Dogs Get Fleas?

If your dog doesn’t take a preventative flea medication, then he’s at risk of getting fleas. Here are some ways it could happen. 

Spending Time Outdoors

Whether you live in an area that’s known for flea infestations or not, it’s best to always keep up with the best flea treatment for cats and dogs. “The Companion Animal Parasite Council recommends all pets be treated year-round with flea control products to help pet families avoid a flea infestation,” said Dr. Hohenhaus.

Products like K9 Advantix II Flea & Tick Treatment for Dogs can help free your pet of flea bites and prevent further infestations, which will help your entire household avoid the stress that comes with having to deal with them. While Dr. Hohenhaus says that flea infestations are still a fairly common problem, they’re much less prevalent now because there are many easy options available to help treat the issue.

Living With a Pet That Has Fleas

If your dog lives with another dog or cat that brings fleas home, then there’s a pretty good chance that he’ll get fleas, too. That’s why it’s so important to make sure all pets in your household are on a flea preventative medication. 

Moving Into a New Apartment or Home

Whenever you’re moving to a new place, it’s not a bad idea to take steps to prevent a flea infestation. Be sure to vacuum everywhere and throw out the bag when you’re finished, then carefully follow the instructions for flea sprays or bombs to kill off the rest of the fleas. Virbac’s Knockout Area Treatment Spray is great for covering larger areas. For extra precaution, you could always hire a licensed exterminator to check the place out before you move in. Get more tips on getting rid of fleas in your home.

Sharing Beds or Bedding With a Flea-Infested Pet

Social and friendly dog who often share toys and bedding with other animals may be more likely to be at risk for flea infestations, as well. Remember to always keep your pet up-to-date on his flea treatments, and if you bring your pet’s bed or plush toys into someone else’s home, launder everything in hot water when you get home to ensure that fleas don’t make it back with your pet from his playdate.

Traveling South With Their Snowbird Pet Parents

Vacationing with your pet is so much fun, but returning home to deal with fleas on your dog is not. When you travel to warmer destinations for the winter, don’t forget to bring along your pet’s flea medicine. Keep products like  Seresto’s 8 Month Flea & Tick Collar for Large Dogs & Puppies on hand so that you always have a way to help prevent your pet from flea infestations, no matter where his travels take him.

Frontline Plus Flea & Tick Spot Treatment for Large Dogs, 45-88 lbs, 6 Doses (6-mos. supply)
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K9 Advantix II Flea & Tick Spot Treatment for Dogs, over 55 lbs, 6 Doses (6-mos. supply)
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NexGard Chew for Dogs, 24.1-60 lbs, (Purple Box), 3 Chews (3-mos. supply)
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How Do Cats Get Fleas?

Cats are at risk of fleas, too. Even if your cat lives indoors and rarely, if ever, has contact with animals you don’t know, if you also have a dog or cat that spends time outside, then your indoor cat could be in danger of contracting a flea infestation.

Be sure to treat both your cat and your dog with proper flea prevention. And don’t forget to treat your home, too—especially all the spots where your pets sleep and hang out. Vet’s Best Flea + Tick Home Spray for Dogs & Cats uses a blend of peppermint oil and clove extract to control and kill fleas, flea eggs and ticks on contact, and it’s safe for use on or around both dogs and cats 12 weeks or older.

Frontline Plus Flea & Tick Spot Treatment for Cats, over 1.5 lbs, 6 Doses (6-mos. supply)
FREE 1-3 day shipping
PetArmor CapAction Flea Tablets for Cats, 6 Tablets
Seresto Flea & Tick Collar for Cats, 1 Collar (8-mos. supply)
FREE 1-3 day shipping
Dealing with fleas on your dog or cat can be a nuisance. But it doesn't have to be. Making sure your pets are protected with year-round preventative medication will keep fleas out of your life and give you and your pets peace of mind—for good.


By: Chewy EditorialUpdated: