Many pet owners have experienced this problem before — sleeping with your furry friend isn’t always easy to do, especially when they have fleas. While fleas are typically harmless to humans, their bites can cause itching, swelling, rashes, and hives. If you suspect that your dog has fleas and sleeps on the bed, you’ll want to correct this as soon as possible using the guide we’ve provided below.
How Do Fleas Get into Our Beds?
Most adult fleas make their way into a person’s bed through a cat or dog that spends a lot of time on the bed. When our pets play outside, these small insects will wait for a suitable host and latch onto them, where they will feed until they make their way into our homes. Fleas may also make their way indoors through humans, especially people who have been through a heavily wooded place.
Rugs and furniture are another possible source of fleas. While adult fleas can get into your bed through your pet, finding flea eggs on your bedding is more common. The reason for this is because fleas can mate within 24 hours of feeding. Female fleas can then start laying around 40 to 50 eggs each day, which can easily fall anywhere around your home.
How Can Fleas Harm Our Pets?
When left untreated, fleas can spread germs and diseases such as cat scratch disease, Lyme disease, and even the bubonic plague. Moreover, pets with annoying fleas will bite, lick, and scratch flea bites, which can lead to skin irritation, red, scaly skin patches, and even hair loss. In severe cases, your pet may also develop anemia as a result of blood loss due to feeding fleas.
Flea bites can be uncomfortable and itchy for people too — scratching bites can lead to skin infections, so they should be addressed right away. Someone who’s allergic to flea saliva could experience a rash breakout if not treated.
Signs of Fleas in Your Home
There are various species of fleas in existence; the most common types found in the country are cat fleas (also known as Ctenocephalides felis) and dog fleas (also known as Ctenocephalides canis). These pests will bite cats, dogs, rabbits, and other animals with fur — if given access, they can also pester birds. While fleas can also bite humans, they won’t stay on our skin for too long since they prefer to hide inside animals with fur or feathers rather than human hair.
Because fleas love to live off their hosts’ blood, they won’t soon become a resident on your bed, but you will see evidence that were there. If your pooch has fleas, they may lay eggs that could end up on your bed where they will hatch. Once they grow into adults, fleas can travel over long distances and could end up over your bedding.
Common signs of fleas on your bed include the following.
If you notice red dots along your feet, ankles, and shins that are itchy, chances are that you have a flea infestation. Multiple flea bites will often look like a straight line along your lower limbs — they are different from bed bug bites since bed bugs will typically bite people around the face, neck, and arms. You may also notice flea bite marks around places where the skin is warm and moist, such as around the knees.
Pets that sleep near your head may unknowingly transfer dog fleas onto your body and in turn, you might see bites around your elbows and upper body. Red dots around your face and chest may also be a sign of fleas, but you might also see other side effects if you have an allergic reaction to fleas, which include the following:
- Intense itching
- Signs of anaphylaxis, such as shortness of breath
Just like every other animal, fleas also poop — flea feces will look like small black dots that can be hard to see with the naked eye. However, using a magnifying glass can make it easier to identify them, and you should be able to see them against white sheets. Flea dirt is mainly composed of their last blood meal, and fleas will often consume more blood than they need whenever they find a new host.
While it can be hard to see flea bites on your pet’s skin, you might be able to spot these pesky critters whenever you see your pet scratching excessively. Your pup might also bite or gnaw at its skin since fleas can reach every part of your pet’s body, leading to discomfort and itching. When left untreated, your dog could develop a bacterial infection or rashes from their scratches constantly breaking their skin.
What Do Fleas and Eggs Look Like?
While fleas don’t usually live a long life, they go through various life stages, which include the following.
- Eggs: Live fleas can lay as many as 10 eggs after they feed; their oval-shaped eggs are loose and will happily roll around. They could land anywhere around your home and will remain around your furniture until they hatch between 1 and 12 days later. These eggs are white to clear in color and will look like salt or dandruff flakes.
- Larvae: The eggs will then hatch into flea larvae, which look like small, translucent maggots or worms. They will often have black matter within their bodies — the larval stage should last around a week.
- Pupae: After spending some time as larvae, they will turn into flea pupae that produce sticky cocoons that gather dust over time. As a result, they can look like flea dirt and will stay alive for up to 1 year when living in warm conditions.
- Adults: If you have an infestation of fleas in your home, you might see them around your bedding or carpets. They will range from black to reddish-brown in color and have tough bodies that are difficult to squish. Fleas can move quickly and can jump as high as 13 inches, and won’t be easy to spot on your pet’s fur.
How Long Can Fleas Live on Your Bed and Furniture?
Unlike bed bugs, fleas don’t feed on human blood, but will still need a host to keep them alive for up to a whole year. Without a food source, they will only survive for a week or two; if your house is humid and warm, there’s a good chance that they can live longer. Fleas prefer burrowing into your bedding and carpeting, so it’s a good idea to use a mattress encasement to help protect your beds from future infestations.
How to Prevent Fleas from Thriving in Your Home
Because the most common way for fleas to get into your home is through your pet, the best way to rid them from your home is to talk to your veterinarian about flea prevention products. Some products are dedicated to killing eggs, larvae, pupae, and adult fleas while also preventing infestations in the future. There are also flea preventatives that can protect your home against ticks and can be highly effective if you visit wooded or grassy areas often.
When you use any kind of flea medication, be sure to stick to a schedule because some solutions will need reapplication every month. But even if you use a flea solution regularly, it’s still best to examine your dog’s skin for fleas. The best way to do this is while they’re bathing which allows you to see their skin directly.
The Best Flea Treatment Products You Should Consider
There is a wide range of treatment options you can consider when looking for the right solution for you and your pet, which include:
- Oral medication such as pills and chewables
- Flea collars
- Flea spray
- Topical gels or lotions
- Flea shampoos
There are also natural remedies available such as essential oils but be sure to consult your vet to find the most effective way to treat your pet. Long-haired animals will need to be groomed regularly, especially in warm environmental conditions using a flea comb as a form of pest control. Doing this will help your dog get more comfortable and will help your pet sleep better at night.
Treating Your Upholstery and Beds
If your home has fleas, going over soft surfaces such as upholstered furniture and carpet using a vacuum cleaner can help to remove them. You can also sprinkle flea powder onto the carpets and rugs to trap them inside the vacuum bag — you may also use a steam cleaner to ensure that they’re picked up. Be sure to wash your blankets and bed sheets as well as any pet bedding in hot water once every few days.
What to Do if Your Dog Has Fleas and Sleeps on the Bed?
When fleas come into close contact with your pets and home, they can pose a serious health risk to everyone around, so it’s important to take immediate action to protect your space. Be sure to take a closer look around areas where your dog sleeps, even on your own bed — the good news is that various signs give away their presence. To help your dog sleep better, be sure to eliminate fleas in every life cycle through steam cleaning on high heat, and various products with insect growth regulators.