short haired dog getting topical flea medicine on his neck

What Do Flea Bites Look Like?

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What do flea bites look like? And how to stop them from invading your pets and home and YOU.

Let’s not sugar coat it— fleas and flea bites are a menace and the thought of a small bug sucking the blood of your beloved pet, or you, can make anyone angry. Not only do they look gross, flea bites can cause discomfort, and they may start infecting you and your home as well as your pet if you don’t catch an infestation early. 

flea on human skin up closeWhat do fleas look like?

Fleas can vary in size but most of the time, they are 1/12” to ⅙” in length and they are relatively flat from side-to-side. They are dark red or brown in color and have two antennae and six legs¹. Most fleas that are on your pet are not adult fleas so they may be more difficult to spot. They don’t have wings, but their strong legs allow them to jump long distances– sothey can definitely get around quickly. 

What do flea bites look like? 

The difference between a mosquito bite and a flea bite is that a flea bite will have a discolored ring or halo may appear around the bite². Typically flea bites will appear in a straight line or a cluster of many bites. Again, this is what makes them different from mosquito bites. On humans, these bites will probably occur around the feet, calves and ankles. On animals, look at their under arms, around the neck, and the base of their tail.

These bites will cause itchy and irritated skin and a discolored ring around the bite. On dogs and cats, flea bites will look like tiny, red, raised dots on the dog’s skin. Starting out, they are smaller than most  mosquito or other insect bites, but if the dog or cat keeps scratching, then the bite will become more inflamed³.

flea on a dog zoomed inPay close attention to the pets in your home: are they scratching themselves more than normal? If so, take a closer look and comb through their fur with a flea comb. If you see fleas, chances are, you or your home may have fleas too. Look for these bites on your dog or cat around the armpit, neck, and base of tails areas, and then check yourself below the knees. 

Lastly, do not scratch your flea bites. You can relieve the itch with over-the-counter itch cream or home remedies. 

How do I stop fleas from biting?

To truly stop the flea infestation, you must start with the source: your pets. Bathe your dog or cat in flea shampoo and use a flea comb to remove the fleas and flea dirt. It is also recommended that you use flea medicine on your pet, whether it’s collars, topical, or oral. Lastly, clean your home and spritz flea spray all over! Wash your bedding and your pet’s bedding and vacuum all the areas in your home that your pet would sleep on. 

Fleas and ticks are a menace, let’s be real. They can invade your dog, your cat, your yard, your home, and even YOU. How do you get rid of fleas and ticks? Follow this easy step-by-step guide!

flea about to attack cat

Step 1: Take immediate action to prevent flea bites

Flea and tick shampoos and flea combs are the best next steps if your pet has a flea infestation. We recommend the Kind + Kind Flea & Tick Dog & Cat Shampoo because it uses vet-approved and clean ingredients like essential oils and plants. Elanco Advantage Flea & Tick Shampoo is for dogs only and kills fleas and ticks on contact. To use the shampoo, gently massage it into your pet’s coat from head to tail, making sure you also reach their skin. Let the shampoo sit for two minutes, then rinse. 

Once your pet is dry, use a flea comb so you can inspect your pet more thoroughly and ensure all fleas have been killed and removed . Common areas for fleas to hide are usually the warm and protected areas like under their arms, belly, or groin area.

elanco serest collar for large dogs kin + kind flea shampoo for cats and dogs

Step 2: Prevention is key

Topical prevention is the most common form of flea prevention. PetLock, K9 Advantix II, and Advantage II products are some tried and true topicals for flea prevention. They use an ingredient that employs the natural oils on your pet’s skin and coat to spread the active ingredients. This way, the topical cover’s your pet’s entire body. Apply these products to a small area on the back of the pet’s neck once a month. You apply it to the back of the neck so your pet can’t reach the topical and mess with it before it has a chance to spread.

Flea collars are another great option! The Seresto collar is effective for up to 8 months and uses the same ingredient as topicals to spread across the cat or dog’s entire body. So if you are someone that can’t remember to apply the topical monthly, then maybe the collar is the best option for you and your pet!

Step 3: Home and yard maintenance

wondercide home and yard sprayFlea sprays are great if you have an infestation of fleas in your home. Douse your pet’s beds, blankets, couches, pillows, etc. to get rid of any fleas in your home. Wondercide has a great all-natural flea spray that will stay effective for one month and is safe even to use on yourself! Wondercide Flea & Tick Spray is made in the USA from human food-grade ingredients and is safe for children.

To prevent pests, you will need to apply every 2 – 3 days by rubbing your dog’s coat in the opposite direction of growth, spray, and rub in. If your dog enjoys swimming, you will need to reapply after your dog’s coat is dry. They also smell great. Or Advantage Flea and Tick Sprays aren’t as natural, but they will be effective for about 24-48 hours. Be adamant about vacuuming and washing your dog’s bedding for multiple weeks to make all life stages of fleas are being eliminated too. 

Yard sprays are an essential part of flea prevention that is not as commonly talked about. If you do all the above steps, and your pet still has fleas or acquires fleas again quickly, then you may want to treat your yard with a flea and tick yard spray. Wondercide Yard Flea & Tick is an all natural solution that uses essential oils like cedar oil to kill on contact and repel fleas and ticks. The spray will cover up 4,000 square feet using no artificial colors, fragrances or synthetic pesticides. 

Wondercide Pets & Home Flea & Tick Spray - Peppermint

Related blogs: How to Get Rid of Fleas and Ticks: A Step-By-Step Guide, The Prevention Post: Say No to Fleas and Ticks, Stamp Out Fleas, Ticks, and Lice with Seresto, How to Get Rid of Fleas

Product Recommendations: Dog Flea & Tick Prevention, Cat Flea Medications


¹ “Fleas.” Pest Guide, National Pest Management Association,

² “Flea Bites.” Health Library, Cleveland Clinic, 31 August 2021,,a%20cluster%20of%20many%20bites.

³ Burke, Anna.”What Do Flea Bites Look Like on Dogs?” Flea & Tick, American Kennel Club, 25 March 2022,,a%20much%20larger%20red%20area.

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