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These are small jumping parasites that feed on blood.  Mostly, they will be found around the abdomen, head, and base of the tail.  Moving from egg to adult only takes fourteen days but the flea can live for over a year.  They also can last for months in a suspended state of sorts.  As soon as the female flea has a feeding of blood, she will lay eggs and some of the eggs will roll off the surface she laid them on and spread out.

To check a dog for fleas, the primary areas will be on the abdomen, the head and base of the tail.  Not only will you look for small hopping insects, but also flea dirt.  This is the excrement of the flea and is blood based.  To check to see if this is proof of fleas, wipe the flea dirt up with a wet paper towel and wait for a few minutes.  If the dirt spots turn a dark red, then it is indeed flea dirt.

There are additional problems to fleas.  The bite can cause an allergic reaction that causes itching.  While this is no surprise, it can also cause skin infections.  It is also important to note that flea larva will inject tapeworm eggs.  Ingestion of the flea can give either dogs or humans a tapeworm.  Finally, a very young or very weak dog can suffer from Anemia if the flea infestation is high enough.

While fleas are notoriously difficult to get rid of, bathing will get rid of the adult fleas.  The shampoo essential dries them out and kills them.  This does not kill the eggs as easily and repeated attempts at killing an infestation are recommended.