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My Dog Has Fleas: Bites and Allergic Reaction Can Cause Hot Spots And Painful Sores

Updated on October 26, 2020

Picture of Hot Spots on My Dog From Flea Bites

My dog chewed through all layers of skin. Flea allergies can get serious; quickly.
My dog chewed through all layers of skin. Flea allergies can get serious; quickly. | Source

Signs of Fleas

Chewing on the tail is a sign of fleas. If it looks like your dog is biting compulsively on their skin, please go through and check for fleas. I describe below how to check thoroughly.

Your dog will sit and scratch behind his ear and just chomp at the bits anywhere they can. Before it gets to that stage, please treat your dog!

Dogs with fleas often bite compulsively. Dogs also roll on their backs to scratch the itching skin that can't be reached with their paws. Your dog may chew up and down their limbs because they are itchy. The skin may have red bites, or large raw and wet areas which are the hot spots. As the allergy worsens, the hot spots come together and become large open sores. This process can happen over night.

Flea Dermatitis

If your dog is allergic to fleas, the saliva from the bite will cause the area to become red, inflamed and cause a bump. Your dog can do some serious damage by biting and scratching at the area where bitten.

Picture of A Flea

 This is what a flea looks like close up
This is what a flea looks like close up | Source

Look For Hot Spots

It only takes one bite to cause an allergic reaction that can cause a hot spot on your dog or pet as you will read below. I really had no idea that flea bites can do so much damage to a dog/pet. Hot spots need to really be taken seriously.

I felt like a horrible pet owner, I really did, but I have never ever had to deal with fleas. I give my dogs Frontline for flea and tick prevention. My dog had just a few fleas and it was a nightmare. Also, we found out, the dogs behind us have a had fleas and they jumped on our dogs as they would have fun jumping at each other playing. Besides being on your pet, remember that you may get flea bites as well or have a flea problem in your home.

If for some reason you find a serious problem with fleas in your home, you may have to get pest control and have them spray. With that said, it's not just your dog that will get the problem, you will too.

Fleas in general need to be taken seriously, because they are the little nasty bugs that do so much damage. If you have fleas in your home, you will also need to rid of them will flea powder, vacuuming, cleaning everything, etc.

Where and How to Look For Fleas

The best way I found to look for fleas was to take a comb and by separating and using small strokes through the hairs, it was more efficient when looking for fleas.

Besides the head, neck and ears, look really well on the butt of your dog, especially at the tip of where the tail starts, around the anus; these are where fleas love to gather. Always check around the genitals, legs and thighs.

Flea prevention is just that: it doesn't say it'a guaranteed to stop fleas all together. You must remember that just because your dog or cat have: flea collars, Frontline, etc. on, they still can get fleas.

Finding Sores

Since I did find a few fleas, I gave my dog a flea bath. It wasn't going to get rid of them all, but it would give her some relief if she had quite a few.

When I started to wash the tail, she yelped. I took a real good look by spreading her hair and parting sections until I could see her skin since the fleas scoot pretty fast. I needed to see if she had more fleas; I strongly doubted it because of the Frontline I was using.

After digging through her hair, I saw nearly the cartilage of her tail! I was flabbergasted thinking she chewed down so hard that I could see inside of her tail. I immediately took her to the Veterinarian and he said she had flea bites and has what is called a "hot spot." That means, she is allergic to flea bites. It was a horrible experience and I never thought that flea bites could do this much damage.

The top picture of this article is my dog's tail. The vet had to shave the hair off the tail, give her antibiotics, and special creams. If I didn't take her the next day, it could have really been a bad outcome. Please take care of your pets. If a few fleas could do this to your family pet, what would more fleas do because you fail to use flea prevention?

My Choice for Flea Prevention

I have used Bayer K9 Advantix II flea prevention for several years. I use this like clockwork every 3 months. As you can see, nothing is 100%, but I bet if I didn't use anything, my dog would have had more than one flea bite and could have done serious damage.

If you can't afford flea medicine, contact your veterinary clinic and perhaps they can help or contact your nearest animal shelter.

Be Responsible Pet Owner

I wrote this to warn you what could happen; if you see your dog chewing at their tail, please take a look immediately. Look close in the butt area for fleas. I also found taking a comb by slowly moving in opposite direction of hair was easier.

I cried when I saw what happened to my dog. If you have any questions or anything, I'll be happy to answer them. Thanks for reading my story, and I hope it may help someone else.

It's important to give your pet flea medicine every month. Being a responsible pet owner is vital. If you can't afford flea medicine, contact your vet for possible samples or your local animal shelter.

I encourage the video below for more information.

Hot Spots On Your Dog

Has Your Dog Ever Had Hot Spots?

See results

Please Leave Your Comments......

Please leave your comments or questions below as I appreciate the feedback! If there is something I can help you with, let me know!

Great Video about Fleas and Hot Spots


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    • weezyschannel profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Central USA

      Hq- i'm so sorry about your cat! If it were me, I would get him to the vet. Believe me, it is extremely painful for them and my vet had to give my dog a couple shots and put her on antibiotics. Hotspots are very painful for an animal and you seen the pictures of the hotspot on my dogs tail. This happened overnight while we were sleeping and I woke up and there was blood on the floor where she almost chewed her tail off

    • Hq Butt profile image

      Hq Butt 

      3 years ago

      Hi,Please help my persian cat has a hot spot,He is crying in pain, I don't have any vet nearby,Please help or pray for him

    • weezyschannel profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Central USA

      Thank you for your concern! It was more than a nightmare, let me tell you! I was literally in tears. The vet said they have actually seen dogs chew their tail completely off!

    • weezyschannel profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Central USA

      I had no idea either! My dogs never have had fleas but we found out the neighbors dog has fleas and they play along the fence line and he actually got the fleas from their dog!

    • weezyschannel profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Central USA

      Thank you for your comment and I'm sorry that you are poor baby is going through these issues. After the medicine was applied and she was on an antibiotic, it was maybe about a week and she started to return to her old self. She really looked more pathetic because of the shaved tail, but it was about a week or perhaps two, her skin started to heal and you can tell she was so much happier. Good luck!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      i just went through this exact thing. We had no idea when we went to the vet we would be holding our poor dog as the vet got the clippers and shaved her raw tail. I am beside myself with worry. It's 3 days later and she won't walk due to pain around her bum and tail. Almost identical to your pics. She on flea treatment too! She now has to take Vanectyl P and i have to pt isaderm gel. She cries when i put it on her raw raw tail and anus. :( How long till your dog returned to her old self? or even close.

    • weezyschannel profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Central USA

      @crafty I treat my babies every month. Even have the yard sprayed

    • CraftytotheCore profile image


      7 years ago

      I went to the dog park a while back and this beautiful Golden Retriever came in with his owner. The dog had hot spots near his hip. Another park visitor tried to scare everyone saying the dog had mange, but it was obvious it was not mange.

      None of my rescued dogs had fleas on them despite living in the horrid conditions where they were found. I thought that was amazing. I use flea meds on all my animals except my pig. He doesn't get fleas. I don't think they like his tough skin.

    • weezyschannel profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Central USA

      @thatchjl You never said whether they just have fleas or do they have the hot spots? let me know -If they have the hot spots and look like my dog's tail did, then they need antibiotics for the infection or it could kill the dog. I cried myself to sleep when I saw the tail. Anyway, if it's just the fleas, Walmart has a flea prevention similar to Frontline called Pet Armor. It's around 13 dollars. Also, you can call the humane society in your area and explain to them you don't have the money and your dogs need treated. They may just send you some :) I had a friend do that (she's like 62 yrs old and on fixed income) ..they even have medicines like antibiotics and such that they give for free. I will never take fleas lightly again. That is what happened to my dog after one flea bite. There are flea baths that "help" but don't rid of them. If you have any more to add, let me know!

    • thatchjl profile image


      8 years ago from Dayton, Ohio

      I have three little dogs and at this point in time can't afford to take them to the vet. I have tried the topicals from the pet store Frontline, Advantix and others and nothing seems to work. I hate to have to bathe them every few days, but nothing seems to be working. Any ideas?

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 

      8 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Thanks for pointing this out to everyone. I have battled this with many dogs in the past and it is sometimes so easy to avoid with good flea control.

    • weezyschannel profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Central USA

      yes, could be! however; mine had fleas on her from the dogs behind us jumping onto her through the fence!

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Farricelli 

      8 years ago

      My males gets hot spots in the summer and I think it is due to bugs:(

    • weezyschannel profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Central USA

      yes, it was absolutely horrible. I felt so bad, but the vet said it happens in dogs that are allergic. She's 6 yrs old and never ever had a flea. I cried so hard when the vet shaved her tail because she was yelping and crying because of the pain. If you look at the picture, imagine a razor going over it.. Ouch!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      8 years ago from England

      Hi, poor little thing! that must have been so painful, I am glad you got it sorted out, I never realised that it could do that with one flea, great info, cheers nell


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