Are cat fleas the same as dog fleas? If you’re a pet owner and concerned that your cat or dog has fleas, you may be asking this question. So, how do cat fleas vs dog fleas compare? Are they the same thing? Can dogs give fleas to cats? Continue reading, and I’ll help you answer all of these questions.
Table of Contents
- Are cat fleas the same as dog fleas?
- Do fleas prefer dogs or cats?
- Can cats and dogs give each other fleas?
- Treating Fleas on Dogs
- Treating Fleas on Cats
- Cat Fleas vs Dog Fleas
Are cat fleas the same as dog fleas?
Are cat and dog fleas the same is a very common question. The answer to this question isn’t completely straightforward, however.
Cat fleas and dog fleas are different species. The scientific name for cat fleas is Ctenocephalides felis. Dog fleas are a different species. Ctenocephalides canis is the scientific name for dog fleas.
While you may believe that cat fleas are only found on cats and dog fleas are only found on dogs, the truth is that both cat fleas and dog fleas can live on either animal.
In the United States, nearly 95% of the fleas found on cats or dogs are Ctenocephalides canis, or cat fleas. There are some Ctenocephalides canis, or dog fleas, in the United States, but this flea species appears to be more commonly found in Europe.
So, while some fleas may be called “cat fleas” and others are called “dog fleas,” both species can live on dogs and cats. Another similarity between cat fleas and dog fleas is that both species can transmit the tapeworm parasite to your pet. If a cat or dog accidentally swallows a flea infected with the parasite, it can lead to an infection in your pet.
And, as a side note, if you’re curious about a human flea vs cat flea, cat fleas will not live on humans, though they may bite us. Human fleas, or Pulex irritans, are the species that can live on humans, though they are not very common.
If you are wondering the difference between brown fleas vs black fleas, both cat and dog fleas can be either of these colors. Most cat and dog fleas will appear dark brown to black before they have taken any blood. Then, once they have taken some blood, their color will change to be more of a reddish-black.
Do fleas prefer dogs or cats?
“Dog fleas” prefer dogs and “cat fleas” prefer cats. However, this isn’t to say that you can’t find dog fleas on cats or cat fleas on dogs. Remember, nearly all of the fleas in the United States are cat fleas, but cats are far from the only ones they can live on.
Can cats and dogs give each other fleas?
Yes, cats and dogs can give each other fleas.
As I shared above, most of the fleas found in the United States are technically “cat fleas,” but they can live on both cats and dogs. “Dog fleas” can also live on both cats and dogs.
Treating Fleas on Dogs
If your dog has fleas, it is important to act quickly to treat them. You’ll need to choose an approved flea treatment for dogs, such as a flea shampoo, flea collar, or flea preventative medication.
In addition to treating your dog for fleas, you’ll need to treat all of the surfaces in your home. Wash your dog’s bed, your bedding, and any blankets that are lying around. Fleas can also live on carpets for months, so you’ll want to vacuum and treat your carpets too.
It is also important to clean up your yard, since that may be the spot where your dog initially picked up the fleas. Cut back tall grass and clear up any piles of leaves or brush. This will remove any spaces where fleas could hide. You can also consider laying down some cedar wood chips around your fence, garden beds, or other areas where your dog goes in the yard. Cedar works as a natural flea repellent.
Treating Fleas on Cats
Cat and dog flea treatment methods will look a bit different. When treating your cat for fleas, be sure to choose products specifically labeled for use on cats. Treating your cat with dog flea treatments can be very dangerous.
Permethrin, one of the ingredients found in many flea treatments for dogs, can be toxic for cats. If products with this ingredient are used on cats, it can lead to permethrin poisoning. This can cause seizures, tachycardia, tremors, dilated pupils, ataxia, and may be fatal. If you accidentally use a dog flea treatment on your cat, bring them to an emergency veterinarian right away.
Watch this video to learn how to apply a spot-on flea treatment for your cat.
Cat Fleas vs Dog Fleas
Hopefully I’ve helped you learn that cat fleas and dog fleas are both technically two different species, but that both parasites can live on cats and dogs. If you are concerned that your cat or dog has fleas, working quickly to treat your pet and your home is essential. Use approved treatment methods, since some are designed specifically for cats or dogs, and check with your vet if you have any questions or concerns.
Each flea treatment may vary, so it is best to check the label to confirm that it will kill the type of fleas you’re trying to get rid of. However, you should not try to use a dog flea treatment to kill fleas on your cat. The ingredients used in dog and cat flea treatments are different. Some of the ingredients found in many treatments for dogs can be toxic for cats. If you wish to use a dog flea treatment product on your cat, always consult with your veterinarian before doing so.
Yes, dogs and cats can pass fleas back and forth to one another. Both cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) and dog fleas (Ctenocephalides canis) can live on either animal. If you have dogs and cats in your house and one animal has fleas, it is safest to assume that they are all infested and to act accordingly.