Dog Fleas and Humans

Although rare, dog fleas can spread disease to humans.

Although rare, dog fleas can spread disease to humans.

The types of fleas that normally attacks humans are different from the fleas that are found on dogs. In fact, dog fleas can't survive on human blood. While uncommon, dog fleas can still bite humans and potentially cause allergic reactions or even spread disease.

Types of Fleas

The only type of flea that lives on a human host is the species Pulex irritans. These fleas can also live on dogs, but dogs usually contract these fleas from humans. The two types of fleas that live on dogs are dog fleas, or Ctenocephalides canis, and cat fleas, or Ctenocephalides feli. Fleas reproduce quickly and lay as many as 50 eggs per day, according to the Dog Breed Info Center. Fleas can infest the entire house and bite both humans and pets. Flea bites on humans usually occur on their feet and ankles and appear as red, raised bumps.

Allergies

If you are allergic to flea saliva, you may experience itching and allergy symptoms including runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing. Avoid scratching flea bites as this may lead to infection.

Worms

Flea bites may transmit worms to humans. The tapeworms Dipylidium caninum and Hymenolepis diminuta are the most common worms transmitted by fleas

Disease

The most serious concern of a flea infestation is the spread of disease. Bubonic plague is transmitted by flea feces or occasionally flea bites. The plague may become an epidemic and has a high mortality rate. Endemic typhus is also transmitted by fleas.

Preventing Fleas

The best way to avoid the negative effects of dog fleas for both dogs and humans is to prevent fleas all together. Flea collars and topical flea treatments applied each month prevents fleas from attacking dogs and laying eggs.

Getting Rid of Fleas

If your dog already has fleas, get rid of them as quickly as possible. Topical flea treatments, flea shampoos, flea powder, and oral medication from your veterinarian are all effective ways of getting the fleas off of your dog. Unfortunately, this does not mean the fleas are gone. If your infected dog has been in the house, you need to treat your house as well. Foggers, sprays and flea powders are effective ways to get rid of fleas in the household. In addition, wash all of your and your pet's bedding and sweep and vacuum your home often to remove any remaining fleas.

 

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