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A Pet Owner’s Guide to Common Pests Found On Dogs

Posted on February 21, 2024

Estimated Reading Time : 5 Min.

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A Pet Owner’s Guide to Common Pests Found On Dogs

When it comes to our furry family members, their health and comfort is our utmost priority. Yet, they often attract numerous unwanted pests. Understanding these pesky intruders and how they can affect your dog will help you to prevent infestation or deal with the problem better, if and when it happens. 

How Certain Pests Affect Your Dog

#1 Fleas

Seeing tiny black bugs on your canine can be concerning, especially when those little critters start jumping. If you see this, then it’s most likely you’re dealing with fleas, one of the most common pests found on dogs. 

Black fleas, as they are often called, have a distinct dark color and pose significant health risks to pets. They are very tiny, about ⅙ or ⅛ of an inch. These pests latch onto your pet’s fur by jumping or crawling and happily feed off their blood for survival. Fleas can even cause discomfort and potential complications like dermatitis and anemia.

Taking prompt action is crucial, as a single female flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day, which hatch into larvae within two days. 


How To Get Rid Of Fleas On Your Dog

So how does one get rid of these annoying pests? Removing fleas is not easy, as it requires consistency, patience, and effort. Here is what you can do: 

  • Start by treating your dog with flea removal shampoos, sprays, or spot treatments. While these do a decent job of killing adult fleas, remember these treatments may not eliminate eggs and larvae.
  • Consider using oral medication that prevents new fleas from maturing, potentially breaking the reproduction cycle.
  • Regularly clean your pet’s bedding and vacuum your home frequently to remove any hidden eggs and larvae.
  • In severe cases, professional flea control services might be a viable solution.


Ticks tend to be quite elusive and usually latch onto your dogs unnoticed, making their detection somewhat complicated.

Labeled as one of nature’s most resilient parasites, ticks belong to the arachnid family, which is the same family that spiders belong to. Though there are different types of ticks present in Tennessee, they all feed on their host’s blood for their survival, flourishing during the spring and summer months.

Finding a tick on your dog is alarming due to the array of illnesses that can arise from an otherwise harmless-looking situation. As stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some tickborne diseases include Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which are all serious health threats to your dogs.


Identifying Ticks

To protect your pet from being this parasite’s next meal, it’s crucial to regularly inspect your dog for ticks after outdoor activities, especially if you’ve spent time in tall grass or wooded areas. 

Here’s how:

  1. Conduct a hands-on check by rubbing your hands over the dog’s body to feel for any small lumps.
  2. Visually inspect your dog for adult ticks that may appear as small dark specks against lighter-colored fur.
  3. Don’t forget hidden spots such as the ears, toes, and underneath collars.

How To Get Rid Of Ticks

Should you come across a tick that’s snugly attached itself to your dog, don’t panic. Proper removal involves using fine-tipped tweezers or specially designed tick removers aimed at preventing the tick’s mouthpiece from breaking off under the skin. You can also read our blog post on tick control to learn more information. 


Heartworms, unlike pests such as ticks or fleas, operate not on the body, but inside the body. They sneak into your pet’s system and make their home in your dog’s heart and blood vessels. 

Symptoms include sluggishness, weight loss, and difficulty breathing, but these signs often don’t start appearing until the disease reaches an advanced stage. Therefore, it is crucial not just to wait for symptomatic signals, but to also practice preventive measures.

How Do Dogs Get Infected?

It might come as a surprise that mosquitoes are the ones that cause a heartworm infection. Players in the transmission cycle of this parasite. An infected mosquito bites your furry friend; subsequently injecting baby worms (larvae) into their bloodstream. 

The larvae mature into adult worms within 6-7 months and live in large vessels close to your dog’s heart where they can survive for years if left untreated. This seriously hampers your dog’s cardiovascular function, causing severe damage which might end fatally if you don’t catch it quickly enough.

How To Get Rid Of Heartworms

Preventing heartworm disease involves giving dogs medication either monthly or twice a year based on what your vet recommends. All it takes is one missed dose for them to be at risk of infection again, underlining why consistent prevention matters.


Last are our list is mites. These are a group of tiny arachnids, closely related to spiders and ticks, which naturally occur in every environment. Unfortunately, some species find dogs good hosts and create problems 

Impact of Mites: From Irritation to Infection

Mites usually cause relentless itching which leads to profound distress for our pets. The intense scratching can also lead to self-inflicted wounds, opening the door for secondary bacterial infections too. 

Demodectic mange, better known as mange, doesn’t typically itch but is characterized by hair loss and sometimes red, inflamed skin patches. However, without timely intervention, both types can escalate from individual spots to the entire body. 

Diagnosis and Treatment Efforts

When it comes to mites, you need to visit the vet immediately. The diagnosis usually involves examining skin scrapings under the microscope. Additionally, signs like persistent scratching or hair loss should ring alarm bells for you. 

What’s The Treatment?

Targeted medications, such as oral or spot treatments, along with supportive care, are used to destroy mites, depending on the severity of the case.  By utilizing preventive measures such as regular grooming sessions and keeping your dog’s living space clean & hygienically sound, you will help keep mites from causing problems again.

Mites can find their way through dogs ears


By knowing what signs to look for and understanding effective prevention strategies against the common pests found on dogs’ skin, we can help them live more comfortable and healthier lives. Always remember that early detection is key to managing pest infestations, so stay alert to any signs of discomfort. 

If you are unable to deal with the pests impacting your home and family in Memphis, then it is time to hire the services of Jamison Pest and Lawn, the best pest control company in the area. 

Our team cares for you and your family, which includes your pets, and will do everything we can to make sure that the environment in which your furry friend lives is pest free. Contact us today at (901) 452-1505

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