Fleas are much more than just a nuisance. They often carry pathogens that can cause serious health issues in dogs. If you have a dog with fleas, you and your family are also at risk. Southern California is currently witnessing a typhus outbreak all thanks to fleas. The disease is being transmitted to humans by fleas that their pets are bringing home.

Flea population explodes as the weather warms up and it can quickly invade a pet’s body causing a serious infestation. Flea infestations put your pet’s health at serious risk. To help you understand the gravity of the problem, the following are 5 serious health problems in dogs caused by fleas.

Dermatitis: This is probably the most common problem caused by fleas and it can be extremely painful and irritating for dogs.  Dermatitis is characterized as itchy and often painful bumps in the skin. It’s caused when fleas bite your pet’s skin. The flea saliva causes an allergic reaction, which leads to hair loss and intense itchiness. Unable to control the itchiness, pets often scratch and bite the itchy areas which can lead to skin infections. While there are pet medications that can control the itchiness, the best way forward is to eradicate the resident flea population.

Hot Spots: Hot spots are what follows dermatitis. It happens when your pet nibbles a particular area of the skin, which, in turn, causes a bacterial infection commonly known as hot spots. Special antibacterial shampoos can reduce hot spots and the associated discomfort. However, hot spots are likely to recur if the flea infestation is not controlled.

Tapeworm Infestation: If your dog has a serious flea problem, then there is a high likelihood that it also has tapeworms. This is mainly because fleas are carriers of microscopic tapeworm eggs. These eggs enter your dog’s body when it tries to nibble a flea infested area. While a minor tapeworm infestation is unlikely to result in noticeable symptoms, serious ones can lead to severe weight loss and weakness. Tapeworms can be verified by conducting a stool sample test at the vet’s office. Once confirmed, vets recommend dewormers to kill the worms present in your dog’s gut.

Anemia: Fleas are parasites that feed on your pet’s blood. While a few fleas are unlikely to cause anemia, hundreds of them can cause some serious harm. Puppies are especially susceptible as they are weaker than adult dogs and a serious flea infestation can lead to a potentially deadly anemic condition. Symptoms of anemia include severe weakness, lethargy, and rapid weight loss.

Bartonellosis: Bartonellosis is a disease that’s caused by the bartonella bacteria. It was previously thought that this disease only affected cats. However, vets all across the United States are detecting the presence of the bartonella bacteria in dogs. Very little is known about the disease as vet’s and scientists are still trying to figure out how the bacteria is affecting the canine body. There is a growing consensus amongst vets that the bacteria damages liver, eyes, and heart in dogs.

Long story short, you need to use products like the Bravecto flea medication to ensure your pet is free of fleas all year round. Apart from treating your pet, ensure your home is free of parasites by administering yard sprays and flea powders.