You may know what fleas on dogs look like, but you’re not sure what black specks on dog skin are?
If so, you’re not the only one especially if you are a first time dog owner. You may hear that fleas are… well just gross!
Not only that dealing with fleas is really time-consuming and often costly, but it also demanded additional care of your dog’s skin and hair, more intense vacuuming, and cloth cleaning.
Next to this, fleas tend to provide a strong discomfort to your dog. Plus, fleas tend to be really stubborn and can inhabit your dog and your home for weeks if not months until the infestation is properly treated.
How to know if your dog has fleas? If your dog has never had fleas before, but you have noticed him scratching beyond his usual behavior, your Fido might fight fleas.
The best way to know this for sure is to check your dog’s coat and skin.
In fact, the most precise way to check if your dog is infested with fleas is to look for the presence of flea dirt.
What Is Flea Dirt?
Simply said, flea dirt is the feces of fleas. Precisely, flea dirt is a mix of blood meal and flea waste product.
In other words, flea dirt is the feces of adult fleas.
Does this mean that if you find flea dirt on your dog it means that your dog has fleas? Simply said, yes. If your dog has flea dirt it means that your dog has fleas.
How can we be sure? Well, fleas can only produce flea dirt after they have been on your pet long enough to consume a blood meal, which is something that they do via biting and digesting that meal.
Fleas are the most common reason behind the black spots on your dog’s skin, but you should know that there is another option as well.
Black Specks On Dog Skin, Not Fleas
Black specks are usually a sign of flea dirt, but in some cases, they might be an indicator of deeper underlying medical issues.
Flea dirt specks are very small in size and pepper-like, while they are typically roundish in shape.
If you notice these specks, you should run a flea comb, or your fingers, against the direction your pet’s hair grows.
This way you will part the hair and reveal flea dirt or fleas. Although these specks are usually an indicator of fleas, they can also be caused by several reasons, some of them including:
- Yeast infections
- Small cysts
Let’s elaborate on these potential causes more.
Just like humans, dogs may be prone to certain allergies. Not only that they may suffer from food-related allergies, but they may experience allergies from different external factors.
That being said, dogs may have allergic reactions to cleaning household items, pesticides, and plants.
If you are into gardening, know that certain plants are highly poisonous to dogs.
Allergies will usually appear in body parts such as the chin, elbows, hocks, and belly.
2. Yeast infections
Dogs may experience a yeast infection. Yeast is a fungus, which in dogs displays similar like it does in humans.
When a dog’s body is in balance, no yeast infection should be present. However, when a dog’s immune system is not balanced properly, or when a dog is given antibiotics, yeast can invade the skin.
Know that yeast infection may appear when the dog is shaved or scratches himself heavily.
Very early signs of yeast infection are little black specs that are commonly located on the underbelly, around the genitals, or where legs join the body.
3. Small Cysts
In some cases, black spots may be a sign of small cysts in dogs. Cysts in dogs will usually be found in the sweat gland, mostly on the eyelids.
In most cases, cysts and dogs are caused by the clogging of sebaceous glands. These glands can expand tremendously and should be checked by your veterinarian.
Cysts may appear due to different causes, such as hormonal imbalance, trauma, injury, or even age.
This is why regular veterinarian check-ups are so important. In other words, prevention is the key to having a healthy and long-living dog.
Dogs are active beings and nothing excites them like a good run outside.
For dogs being outside is much more than providing a fair space for running and play. For dogs, being outside is all about keeping their brain and legs busy.
They thrive on exploring different smells, areas, and flavors. This is why they may experience some troubles, such s scabs while being active.
For example, if your dog runs through dense brush, he may develop scabs at areas where branches or thorns scrape their skin.
This may happen during a rough playtime, dog fight, or if dogs meet a very cautious feline.
In some cases, scabs may appear as a sign of trauma or as a result of excessive itching.
Does your Fido have scabs all over his body? They may be caused by underlying allergies, or a dog skin infection.
Some dog breeds are prone to tumors.
If you are the owner of one of the following breeds, make sure that you learn as much as possible about tumors in dogs and stick to regular veterinarian check-ups:
- Golden Retriever
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- German Shepherd
These breeds are more prone to developing certain tumors than other breeds are.
If you want to compare these breeds with other dogs,s use this compare dogs tool to get all the info that you need.
Know that as soon as you notice something unusual on your dog’s skin you should react fast.
Melanomas are usually dark brown or black in color and are often described as black specks, but a bit bigger. In fact, they look a lot like a mole.
Where do they appear? These marks will usually appear on the mouth, skin, nail bed, and even the eyelids.
Your veterinarian is the only one who can tell you if your dog has a tumor, and if the tumor is malignant or being.
Have you heard about impetigo? In humans, this condition is called ‘blackheads’.
Impetigo occurs when infection arises and blocks oil glands in the dog’s skin.
As result, there will be multiple black dots on the skin. These spots are usually followed by redness and swelling.
To know for sure what is your dog going through, you should monitor him closely to see if there are any behavioral changes as your first step.
Your second step should be to contact your veterinarian. Only your veterinarian can tell you if your dog’s black spots are an allergic reaction, a sign of the tumor, or just flea dirt.
Now, let’s go back to flea dirt.
Can You Remove Flea Dirt?
If your veterinarian tells you that your dog has fleas, you will have to listen to instructions.
Make sure that you respect every step and don’t improvise. Luckily, flea dirt is removable and with the right step, your dog may be flea-free if not forever then for a really long period.
As a first step, you can wash your dog with a high-quality antiflea shampoo.
You can also think about homemade anti-flea remedies that can help you keep the fleas away.
Make sure that you read the instructions carefully. Just like grooming your dog is much easier and more effective when you use the right grooming tools, fighting fleas will be much easier with the right flea comb.
Invest in a high-quality flea comb that will go through hair smoothly.
Make sure that you brush the entire coat, as this is the only way to remove the flea dirt and kill any fleas you spot as you go.
Talk with your veterinarian about which products to invest in to keep your dog safe all year round.
Wash bedsheets and if possible use products that will kill fleas that are coughed in bed sheets as well.
This is something that should be done as prevention from time to time if you share your dog with Fido.
What to do if you have more than one dog at home? If your home is a multi-dog household make sure that you keep the dog with fleas separated from the non-affected ones because you down want fleas jumping from one dog to another.
Know that even the cleanest dogs may still get fleas. You may be the most responsible dog owner alive, and your dog still might get into trouble.
You cannot keep dogs controlled all the time. They like to get didn’t the mud, run with other dogs, and enjoy dirty places.
This is how they find not only new experiences and flavors but also some nasty things, such as fleas.
A quick list on how to treat your home from fleas:
- Wash all bedding
- Wash all dog bedding
- Vacuum all carpets
- Shampoo your carpet if you think that it may be infected
- Treat your home with insect growth regulator
What to do if the infection is too severe? If this is the case, you might think about consulting extermination professionals.
Why Is Flea Dirt A Problem?
Flea dirt suggests that there are fleas on your pet and probably in your home.
In other words, this means that you will have to deal with these issues and it will cost you additional money, and some extra time.
The biggest problem with fleas is that these small creatures can become a huge problem in a matter of days of neglect. On top of that, your dog will be in pain.
Flea bites are not comfortable, after all they are bites and they will force your dog to itch.
In some rare cases, dogs may be allergic to flea saliva, making reactions stronger and more intense.
As a result, dome dogs may have mild to severe rashes and may experience hair loss.
In addition, some fleas may vary and may harm a dog’s overall health even further. That being said, if you spot flea dirt, know that there are fleas around and you should react properly.
How To Prevent Fleas?
Like with any other aspect of a dog’s overall health, you should always think about prevention first.
Prevention is the key when it comes to having a healthy and happy dog. Not only that is the best way to keep your dog strong, but it will also cut veterinarian expenses in the long run.
This is why you should think about flea prevention as well because you do want your dog or your home to be troubled with these tiny insects.
Luckily, there are some really super easy steps that can help you keep your dog and your gone flea-free.
The first and most important step is to keep your dog safe all year round.
You can achieve this by using the right product from many available in the pet market.
You can use flea collars, specially created shampoos, tablets, or even monthly treatment.
They are all effective, but how effective they will really be will depend on your dog’s size, coat type, and overall lifestyle and activity.
If you tend to hit the hiking trails with Fido in the spring you can expect additional fleas-related issues.
Secondly, keep your dog’s area and your home flea-free. You can do so by sticking to regular vacuuming, bad washing, and by keeping the grass short in the backyard.
Make sure that you check your dog’s skin for any sign of fleas or skin infection while brushing.
If you live in a hotter climate, you will have to spend more time cleaning and vacuuming – fleas thrive in environments of between 65 to 80° F and 75-85% humidity.
Last But Not Least…
Always think about prevention. Stick to regular veterinarian check-ups. This is the only way to know your dog’s overall health.
Do not ignore recommended puppy vaccination schedule, and be mindful of parasite control.