dog with fleas

What to Do If Your Roommate’s Dog Has Fleas

dog with fleas

Dog fleas  sometimes migrate onto humans and feed on them too. Their bites can cause itching rashes, and small bumps that bleed if we scratch them.

These bites are normally in places where fleas like to hide, including armpits, folds at elbows, knees, and ankles. If you press the affected area and it turns white, then you may have become a flea’s favorite drinking spot.

Your roommate’s dog gave you fleas what do you do?

  • Control any allergic reaction of yours with anit-histamine and shower yourself
  • Convince your roommate they invaded their dog
  • Gather proof from the dog with a flea comb
  • Tell your roommate how fleas reproduce
  • Get rid of the fleas on the dog and in the apartment


Follow This Two-Step Process to Get Rid of the Fleas

  • You may experience a series of bites entomologists call ‘breakfast, lunch, and supper.’ These cause an allergic reaction to flea saliva, but you can control this with anti-histamine.
  • Then secondly, a good long soapy shower while you comb your head and body hair should be all you need to send the critters on their journey. However, you will need to do this daily for as long as your roommate’s dog still has fleas.


Convince Your Roommate Fleas Have Invaded Their Dog

  • Dog Owners tend to treat their pets like humans and members of family. From there, it’s a short step to never being Therefore, you can confidently expect a flurry of denials when you associate your home sharer’s dog with fleas.

So it’s best to take an indirect approach and try to corner them with evidence. Try this one when your roommate is at the shops:

  1.  Warm a dish with soapy water with your desk lamp.
  • Place it on the ground where the dog usually sleeps. If there are fleas there some will jump into the water and drown. I know this sounds crazy but this is what fleas do. Trust me give it a try.
  • When your roommate returns home, make them a cup of coffee, pour them their favorite beverage, whatever makes them relax. Then you can broach the subject every so delicately like this.

“What do you think those things are floating in the water?”

“I don’t know, give me a clue”

“Well they look like insects, except they have long legs”

           “I saw fleas that looked like that once”

With a bit of luck the dog will give themselves an almighty flick and a scratch at that moment. Then you could say, “perhaps we should check the dog just in case, although I think it’s unlikely.” I’ll ask the pet store what we should do.


Gather Evidence from the Dog Using a Flea Comb

Get yourself a flea comb from the vet’s shop, or a good convenience store. These are a bit like regular combs, except the spaces between their teeth are narrower than fleas.

  • When you run the comb gently through your roommate’s dog’s coat, make sure to go close to the skin. You should be able to catch quite a few fleas that way. Tap any fleas into a bowl of soapy water to take care of them.
  • Flea droppings are black and cling to animal fur. When you brush your fingers across your roommate’s dog with fleas, you will feel these as very fine gravel, and that’s one more place you need to check.
  • Another way is to stand the animal on a sheet of white paper, while you groom them with the flea comb. When you strike a rich load, the black droppings will fall to the ground providing another useful clue.

If you make sure your home sharer is watching at that moment, you will see their jaw drop. This is not the right time – it never is – to rub your point in. They will want to do something to help their pet. This is an ideal opportunity to explain how fleas work.


Explain to Your Roommate How Fleas Work

Some of this is pretty yucky stuff. However, we need to understand our enemies to beat them at their game. This is what you may not know yet …

  • Fleas are tiny bugs with long legs
  • They can jump 50 times their own length
  • They are therefore very difficult to catch
  • Fleas dine on their hosts’ hematopoietic cells
  • Their bites react by hurting and itching
  • Their bodies are very hard to squash
  • Fleas reproduce  their species very quickly
  • A pesticide is your only defense against this
  • But you have to do this several times

These issues make it difficult to get rid of fleas on your roommate’s dog right away. The flea life cycle means it takes time and it helps if you know where fleas come from.


How to Get Rid of the Fleas on the Dog and in the Apartment

Treat the Fleas On Your Roommate’s Dog First

Your first step is to treat the dog. Kindness comes first because the dog  is suffering. When you have that aspect under control, you can sort out the apartment because the fleas may be everywhere.

Please check with a competent person if you are unsure when bathing and treating the dog and the apartment. Ask your roommate to join you as you follow the rest of this article.

  • They should treat their dog themselves. That’s because what follows may be new to you both
  • Have them bathe the dog in lukewarm water with mild soap.
  • Tell them to be gentle because their skin may be sensitive to touching
  • They may skip over the bathing stage rather than cause the animal pain, trauma or stress
  • Then they should clean the dog gently with a fine-toothed flea comb until the fleas and droppings stop appearing
  • Your roommate should repeat this process every week until you are both positive your apartment is completely flea free.
  • Encourage the dog to groom themselves regularly because this is nature’s defense


Next Get Rid of the Fleas in the Apartment


The dog’s fleas are only about 5% of your apartment’s infestation population. The rest are at the egg stage, wiggling around as larva, dormant in pupa, or in the carpets, furniture and pet bedding waiting to attack. Therefore you need to take a holistic approach to your problem.

  • Treat your roommate’s dog for fleas with a vet-safe product from your veterinarian or an animal shelter.
  • Experts recommend using a fast-acting oral medication because it gets to work fast.
  • Move the dog out the apartment to somewhere safe while you sanitize your home as follows:.
  • Sweep the floors, and vacuum the rugs, furniture, and carpets. Do this thoroughly so take your time.
  • Treat the carpets, upholstery, underside of the furniture, and other hidden places with a vet-approved spray. Wash the pet’s bedding and their soft toys too
  • Open the drawers and cupboards and fog the entire apartment with a vet-approved product. This should outlast the flea life cycle
  • If your apartment has a balcony, yard or garden, spray the hard surfaces with an animal-safe product and you should be clear of fleas for now
  • However, you still need to clean your home thoroughly in three-to-four weeks, in case a few eggs or pupa escaped the first treatment.


So Far So Good, But You Must Guard Against a Repetition

  • Dogs are sociable animals, and they love nuzzling and rub against  their own kind. They are like flea vacuum cleaners, and can take the parasites on board without actually touching the other animal
  • There is only one way to work around this, and that’s to make your roommate’s dog unattractive to fleas. Vets stock various concoctions that claim to do this, but some may contain chemicals
  • If you are a greenie like me, you may prefer a dose of pet aromatherapy. A few drops of citronella, eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary or tea tree oil added to water could keep the fleas off your roommate’s dog for a few days at a time
  • Otherwise, go for a tick/flea repellant from a known brand you know and trust. You’ll find these products at your supermarket, but vets also sell them


Know The Signs Your Roommate’s Dog Has Fleas

dog fleas

Signs that the flea bites on your roommate’s dog are causing extreme discomfort:

  • It becomes restless, scratches, licks and chews more often
  • It may scratch its ears too and shake them all the time


Narrow Your Flea Search Down and Start Taking Action

These signs tell you where the fleas are hiding at that moment

  • You have to act fast  to win this spy versus spy game
  • Fleas can escape quickly by jumping very high, far and fast
  • Turn the dog on their back and examine the warm places fleas love
  • That’s inside the top of all four legs and in the animal’s private places
  • Examine their ears next because these are also comfortable ‘flea caves”
  • Check carefully for signs of bleeding, redness, scratching and dirt
  • Your roommate’s flea-infested dog may show bumps in hairless places
  • In extreme cases their scratching may have left holes in their fur
  • You may also see black spots on their skin where they damaged it


Spread Your Search Throughout the Entire Apartment

Fleas don’t snack all day long as some humans do. From time to time they want to take a break from dangerous scratching. And so they abandon their host and catch up with their sleep all over your apartment.

  • Fleas may choose any place their host visits regularly
  • Fortunately they leave their gravelly black droppings there too
  • Check their bedding, feeding space and lounges for signs
  • If you don’t like that idea, wear white socks and dab your feet around
  • However, please do remember to spray with flea repellant first, because if you don’t do that, you could be the next flea hotel

If you can’t find evidence of fleas after all that effort, there may be another reason for the scratching, like dog eczema for example. Ask the vet for advice.


Where Baby Fleas Come From on Dogs

Setting the romance aside – the stork included – fleas are incredibly efficient baby-makers. Their young pass through four life phases, and pesticides don’t take care of them all at this stage of their lifecycle.

  • Fleas lay eggs from which tiny worms (larvae) hatch
  • These tiny little larvae turn into non active, resting pupa
  • During the pupa stage, the structure of the flea develops
  • In due course, the adult flea emerges from the shell

The development cycle takes between a couple of weeks to many months to complete. The best conditions are between 70-85°F and 70 percent humidity. If your roommate’s dog has fleas, then oh boy, do they know how to spread themselves.

cycle of dog fleas


Follow Your Roommate’s Dog’s Fleas Around the Apartment


  • The cycle starts when an adult flea lays eggs on its host (your roommate’s dog in this case)
  • The flea lays around 40 eggs a day in bunches in their host’s fur. They are like tiny white grains of sand
  • They travel as the dog moves around the apartment, scratches, rubs against you or whatever the eggs fall on the floor
  • If your roommate’s dog sleeps on your bed, you know where they land and how flea eggs  travel
  • The eggs hatch into larvae between two days and two weeks, depending on humidity and temperature



  • The tiny larva are born blind and stay away from light
  • They are a quarter-inch long but have no legs
  • The small, worm-like creatures develop over a fortnight or so

They dine on the remains of food that the adult fleas digested, and snack on any other organic garbage

  • After two to three weeks they spin cocoons to make pupae



  • There are ten times more fleas than pupas in the world
  • The dormant pupa spend several days or weeks in the cocoon
  • A sticky coating makes them hard to vacuum from carpets
  • It also makes them resistant to chemicals including pesticides
  • Meanwhile, the adult flea develops as if in a mother’s womb
  • After several days or weeks, the flea is ready to greet the world



  • At this stage, the fleas are still in their pupa’s resting
  • However, when they wake, they are going to be hungry
  • Therefore they need a trigger that their lunch ticket is nearby
  • This signal could be vibrations, carbon dioxide, or  body heat
  • They are ready to leave their pupa because food is nearby



flea on dog skin
  • Adult fleas must have their regular food within a few hours
  • They mate after that, and the females start laying eggs
  • New born fleas have flat bodies and are small and dark
  • However, they soon become larger and adopt a lighter color
  • They could live for several weeks on their host animal
  • If your roommate’s dog has fleas it will soon start scratching


When Your Roommate’s Dog Has Fleas It Itches and Scratches

Fleas are pretty much temperature driven. In fact, they like the same temperatures as mammals meaning dogs and humans.

  • If your winter temperature drops below 35º C for over 40 hours in a month, then the flea life cycle ceases because the pupa’s are dormant
  • However, if the temperature rises above that, and humidity is greater than 70% the fleas stir in the pupas and wait for trigger signs.

Once fleas emerge they become active right away, because they are very, very hungry. Their legs are long and they can jump 50 times their own body length. The best American long and high jumpers could never come anywhere near that.

  • But it’s not always easy to spot these active creatures on their hosts
  • They jump between passing dogs and humans with great accuracy
  • Once they land, they burrow down into the fur where they snack away
  • Although we can’t see their bites, their host experiences discomfort
  • The host responds to the inflammation by scratching and scratching

That’s my story for you for a day. I hope we got rid of the fleas in your apartment.  However, your roommate and you should still check the dog once a week to be sure they never return.

The strain of fleas that adapted so well to dogs are generally happy to travel with the dogs everywhere they go. Your frustration about your roommate’s dog fleas may be limited to incessant scratching, and finding flea droppings in their favorite spots where they love to lie.


Writer: Richard Farrell

richard ferrell writer