Where do fleas live on dogs?

Summary

Most fleas live on dogs near their lower back. The second-most common regions are the chest and abdomen, followed by the neck, legs, and crotch. Fleas rarely live on a dog’s tail or head.

where fleas live on dogs

FleaScience

Img 1 Heat map showing the regions on a dogs’s body where fleas live.

Details

Where Fleas Live on Dogs

Survey #1: Back

In Italy, a survey was conducted on dogs brought into veterinary clinics. Of 1376 dogs, 246 had a total of 960 fleas. The dogs’ back area was the most heavily infested, followed by the underside, namely the chest and abdomen. The neck, legs, and crotch areas were moderately invested. Few fleas were recovered from the head or tail.

Survey #2: Hindquarters & Neck

In Wisconsin, a survey was conducted on 20 dogs from a humane society. Fleas were most prevalent on the dogs’ hindquarters and around their necks.

Where Fleas Bite Dogs

Flea bites on animals typically occur at the base of the tail, along the narrows of the back, and across the hips. The ventral areas between the hind legs and on the belly are also commonly affected. Flea bites are more prevalent on the underside of dogs than cats. However, compared to cats, dogs are bitten less around the neck.

Unsurprisingly, flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) in dogs is most prevalent on the dorsal lumbar region (lower back), and on the hindquarter areas of the tail base, thighs, and groin.

Effects of Host Grooming

The distribution of fleas on dogs is partially explained by their grooming habits. Fleas prefer residing in locations where dogs rarely groom. Thus, where fleas live is due not only to biological preference, but also to the actions of the host.

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