What do flea bites look like?

The most frequently asked question we receive here at Flea Bites 101 is: “What do flea bites look like?”

There is something particularly creepy about the prospect of fleas feeding on you that seem to drive most people into a frenzy. I think this is because we all know that if fleas are biting us then it is quite possible we have a serious problem on our hands.  See the following link for more information about how to identify a flea.

How the bite of a flea looks can vary from human to pet. Some flea bites can be a nuisance which is often the case in human bites, while an allergic reaction can cause a simple bite to become a very dangerous medical condition in dogs and cats. Flea bites look very similar to other insect bites at a casual glance, so a close inspection of the bite is needed to determine if it really is that of a flea, a bed bug, a spider or something else.

What do Flea Bites on Humans Look Like?

Flea bites can be as irritating as any other insect bite or skin condition.

Fleas do not bite prefer to feed off of individuals. Humans are really not all that great as far as hosts are concerned. Instead, fleas bite humans either out of necessity or as a crime of opportunity so to speak. Flea bites on humans can often look like small red bumps that are generally the size of a pimple. The number of bites can vary based on whether the individual being bitten is an adult or child, and if the residences has a few fleas or a mass infestation.

In general, fleas usually bite their host two to three times in a row before finding someone else to bite. Not possessing many special characteristics makes the small bumps not easily identifiable as flea bites at first glance. Flea bites can resemble other types of bites such as mosquito, bed bug, and can also have an appearance that is similar to that of a heat rash and many other skin conditions. Identification usually takes a trained eye and a little investigating to determine if the presence of fleas exist.

What do Flea Bites on Dogs Look Like?

For dog owners that live in warmer climates, keeping fleas at bay and away from pets can be a constant practice. Checking ones dog regularly is one way of determining if the dog has been infected with fleas and has been bitten. Canines with long and (or) thick fur may make it difficult to detect the presence of flea bites.

However, a close inspection of the pet can determine whether fleas exist or if there is another cause. A mild case of flea bites may look like tiny bumps or pimples. Dogs are more sensitive to flea bites than humans and cats. A flea bite can easily cause one’s furry friend to get a serious infection, and this infection can develop after just one bite if a dog has an allergy to fleas.

If there is an allergic reaction the dog may contract flea allergy dermatitis (FAD). On dogs a mild case of FAD can look like mange. However, in more severe cases FAD is characterized by severe hair loss in the area, thickening of the skin and redness in the area of the bites.

If you are concerned your pet may be infested with fleas then there is one sure fire way to know if you are unable to locate any flea bites. Look for flea dirt. Flea dirt is the dried blood and dried fecal matter (which is generally just dried blood) and are surefire signs of an infestation. If you see what appears to be dried blood flakes on your dog, prepare for war.

What do Flea Bites on Cats Look Like?

Flea bites on cats have a similar appearance to that of dogs, where the bites look like small red pimples or bumps. Flea bites on cats can be a bit more difficult to detect because of long thick fur. Like dogs, some cats can also have an allergic reaction to flea bites which can cause the skin to become red and inflamed. If a cat has long fur, determining the existence of fleas is a matter of inspecting the fur and searching for the fleas themselves. If there is a heavy infestation, a close inspection may not be necessary as the fleas can easily be spotted. Bites that have become infected can cause hair loss, red lesions and scab like bumps.

The appearance of a flea bite can vary depending on the severity of the bite, number of bites and whether the person or animal has an allergic reaction. While it is possible to self-diagnose, individuals with cases that are especially bothersome should seek immediate medical attention for a professional opinion.

Please see my remarks above about flea dirt on dogs. The principle applies with cats, as well.

Now you have a pretty solid understanding of what flea bites look like on humans, cat and dogs.