Can Humans Get Fleas from Dogs?

If your dog is infested with fleas, you might be wondering if you're at risk of getting bitten, and the question, "Can humans get fleas?" is on your mind. Altogether, there are more than 2,000 species of flea, but only one that can live on humans. Fleas that typically infect canines cannot live on humans, as they cannot survive on human blood, but these species of fleas can ride on human clothes or hair and can be transmitted to other dogs. Fleas are very difficult to get rid of, as they hatch and reproduce at alarming rates and can also travel easily from one host to the other by taking huge leaps.

The History of Fleas

Some scientists believe that fleas have been on earth for more than 55 million years, and ancient amber has been found with fleas inside. These scientists think fleas started off by feeding on tree sap and plant juice, but later developed to suck on the blood of birds, animals and humans. The oldest known species of flea is the snow flea.

Fleas that Live on Humans

From all the flea species on earth, the only one that lives on humans is known as Pulex irritans, and this one feeds on human blood. It can live on cat or dog blood also. The Pulex irritans flea looks like the other types of fleas, but has fewer mouth bristles. Fleas are dark brown or black and are very small, having the shape of a tear.

The bites of fleas on humans are mostly on the head area, but the arms and legs may also be affected. The bites tend to be several in a row and the bite spot will swell and be itchy. If you're allergic to flea saliva you will also have a red halo around the bite.

Dog Fleas

The fleas that are hosted by dogs cannot be transmitted to humans, unless they are Pulex irritans, in which case they were initially transmitted from humans.

  • Fleas on dogs can be eliminated, as they cause a lot of itchiness and the dog is not comfortable. Puppies and weaker dogs are susceptible to anemia if exposed to fleas for an extended period of time, as fleas feed on blood.
  • Talk to your vet about some anti flea products. You can opt for anti-flea shampoos that will relieve the itchiness and also contain insecticides that will eliminate the fleas. You can also choose sprays or powders that contain insecticides.
  • If the dog is allergic to the flea bites, the vet will prescribe a cortisone ointment.
  • Fleas can easily be eliminated from the dog’s skin but the problem is that the fleas hatch and they can lay eggs in the dog’s environment, which can re-infect the dog.
  • Flea eggs can be eliminated with bleach or other household products. You can also vacuum to absorb the eggs and get rid of the vacuum bag, as fleas can develop in this environment also. Clean your garden, as fleas may thrive in moist environments.