Can Dog Fleas Live in Human Hair?

Fleas from dogs and cats are a plague that many pet owners have had to deal with. The dog fleas in human hair are also a common problem.

Can dog fleas live in human hair?

Fleas from dogs and cats are a plague that many pet owners have had to deal with. The small bloodsuckers are widespread. What many do not know: animal fleas can also pose a health hazard to humans. Dog fleas are often found in human hair the best protection is to keep pets and household flea free.

Dog fleas are in season all year round. The four-legged friends often catch the pests outside in the open air. And once fleas are in the house, a constant flea cycle begins, in the course of which the various development stages of the fleas spread wherever pets like to be. Then the way of the dog fleas to the human hair is not far.

Can humans get fleas from dogs?

We regularly hear about the consequences that fleas can have on the health of our canine friends: itching, allergies… But what about humans? Can we also get fleas?

Humans can fall victim to fleas too

Yes, we too can be bitten by fleas. However, these cannot survive in our bodies. In fact, the fleas that take up residence in dogs feed mainly on the blood of dogs or cats.

Also, we are not hairy enough to host these parasites. This is because fleas like to thrive in warm, humid, and dark places, such as in the fur of our pets. This is why for the few dog fleas who make it to the human body, the hair is where they find solace in. So, if dog fleas were to get lodged in human hair, a hot shower would be enough to eliminate them.

However, if you usually sleep with your dog or if your dog is allowed into living rooms, it is still better to ensure that you administer pest control regularly. Indeed, you may be devoured by several hungry fleas, especially in the legs. In this case,  small pink or red pimples will appear, accompanied by itching.

Also, it is good to know that among all the hundreds of species of fleas that exist, there is one (Pulex irritans) that can live on humans. But in this case, it cannot be transmitted to dogs.

Fleas in humans: are there risks?

Fleas are clever little ones! Fast and tiny, they can sometimes go completely unnoticed. Fleas are tiny insects, ectoparasites, that live on the surface of the skin of other mammals and feed on their blood. Everyone knows the expression “jump like a flea” or “be excited like a flea”, and for good reason! Fleas can leap up to thirty centimeters high. They use this asset to their advantage to serve their opportunism. Yes, fleas can change hosts very quickly. That’s why, in just a leap, they can end up from your cat to you. So, is a flea infection dangerous for humans?

Are dog fleas dangerous when in human hair?

In dogs, a flea infestation can cause serious damage. Indeed, not only can they cause strong irritation. Also, they can cause anemia, in particular in already weakened dogs, such as puppies, elderly or sick dogs.

In humans, the only risk is that the bites will become infected. Indeed, fleas can contain parasites (tapeworms) or bacteria that can be inoculated directly into humans or through contact with dogs. These bacteria can cause serious illness, including murine typhus. For this reason, it is essential to clean the bites well with soap and water and then disinfect with an antiseptic lotion. And also, do not scratch it.

Dangers of living with fleas

Human fleas were responsible for the transmission of the bacterium Yersinia pestis in the Middle Ages. This caused the notorious bubonic plague in humans. The “Black Death”, as the plague was called, killed around a third of the European population in the 14th century. Today, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 1000 to 2000 cases of plague occur worldwide each year – mainly in Tanzania, Madagascar, parts of the USA, and Mongolia.  The disease can now be treated with antibiotics.

What diseases can fleas transmit to humans?

When fleas sting people, it usually becomes noticeable through itching and characteristic skin changes: punctiform redness or pustules. Several stitches are usually in a row and form the so-called “flea stitch chain”. In addition to the annoying itching sensation, various pathogens can be transmitted to humans when the fleas bite.

Human health risks from cat fleas:

Cat fleas, which are also found in dogs, transmit the bacterium  Rickettsia felis, which can cause fevers with nodular, blotchy skin rashes in humans.

Cat fleas can transmit bacteria of the genus  Bartonella henselae and cause so-called cat scratch disease in humans. A red-brown papule often forms at the flea bite site, which causes swelling of the lymph nodes. The infection usually subsides without any consequences. People with impaired immune systems are, particularly at risk.

Fleas can infect people with the cucumber seed tapeworm (Dipylidium canium) and, in rare cases,  dipylidiasis trigger. What is special about this is that the cucumber seed tapeworm is not transmitted via a flea bite, but rather through accidental oral ingestion by fleas that harbor infectious worm stages. Children who are in very close physical contact with their pets are particularly affected. The disease usually remains asymptomatic, occasionally disturbances of the digestive tract appear. Symptoms are stronger only in the case of a massive infestation. The disease in humans is treated with drugs against worms. To avoid infection with cucumber tapeworms, hygiene is important when dealing with pets. On the other hand,  consistent flea prophylaxis for dogs and cats is helpful.

Read more: which dog flea and tick control is the best?

Fighting fleas effectively – for humans and animals

People are particularly attacked by fleas when there are very many fleas due to a strong infestation. Various pathogens can be transmitted to humans and cause health problems. Experts speak of zoonoses in such cases.

To rid pets of pests and thus prevent fleas from attacking humans, all animals in a household should be treated with suitable antiparasitic drugs. In the event of a flea infestation, the control should take a period of 2 to 4 months. This applies to both dogs and cats.

However, to make the home environment flea-free again, it is usually not enough to act against fleas that live on the animal. These only make up about 5 percent of the total flea population! The other 95 percent is made up of eggs, larvae, and pupae and are located in the vicinity of the infected pet. Therefore, this must also be treated, especially the favorite places of your four-legged friends. The armchairs, sofas, and basket or favorite blanket affected should be thoroughly vacuumed or washed. Also, if the infestation is severe or recurring,  treating the area with a fogger or spray may be necessary.

How to remove dog fleas in human hair?

All types of animal fleas including dog fleas are known for jumping into the human hair when close to animals that have them. Do you want to know how to remove fleas on human hair? Read on and find out how to do it.

What you need

  • Cortisone cream or calamine lotion
  • Lice or flea comb
  • Tea tree oil
  • Shampoo

Steps to remove dog fleas on human hair

Look for flea bites on the scalp and apply a cortisone cream or calamine lotion to them, whichever you prefer. Both options are equally effective.

Pass the comb through each section of the hair. Its fine teeth will catch any fleas that are in your hair. It must be a flea or lice comb. You can find it in any store specializing in pet products, or the lice comb in a pharmacy.

Add 5 drops of tea tree oil to your regular shampoo. It is an oil that is highly effective in fighting, controlling, and eliminating fleas. Wash your hair and let the mixture work for 5 minutes before rinsing it off, rubbing and massaging well.

After those 5 minutes, use the comb again and then rinse with plenty of water.

Once the process is finished, wash the comb with hot water that is mixed with a few drops of tea tree, this will eliminate any trace of fleas.

It is recommended that you do this disinfection with all the combs and brushes used since the fleas reached your hair. Also, wash your bedding to kill any larvae that may have lingered.

Dog Fleas Killing Shampoos for Human Hair

The fleas that are usually on human hair are generally the ones that feed on dogs and cats. In the past, when people lived on farms, the pig flea had the most affinity for humans. Unlike lice, fleas are not interested in living off you. All they want is to drink some blood and fall again for a walk around the house. Flea-killing shampoos can be dangerous and are not necessary to control fleas.


Most flea-killing shampoos are designed for pets and use an insecticide as an active ingredient. These insecticides are also used on humans to control lice. The two most commonly used in flea-killing shampoos are pyrethrin and permethrin, reports the University of California. The other insecticide found in human shampoos is lindane. All of these agents kill fleas.

Using the shampoo

Both flea and lice shampoo should be used with great caution. Even transient contact with the skin causes a certain degree of absorption. Wash your hair in a sink to avoid contact of the shampoo with other parts of the body. Do it quickly and rinse it off completely after application. In half an hour, all the fleas or lice should end up dead. Then wash your hair with a non-toxic shampoo and comb through the product before rinsing it out. Although fleas are unlikely to lay eggs on the scalp, pyrethrin and permethrin do not kill the eggs, but a fine comb will remove them.

Toxins and allergens

Flea shampoos that use pesticides are toxic and sometimes allergenic to you and your pets. Because these are coved over your entire body, fleas can inhabit them and move between absorbs of blood. For humans, this is more difficult, because a simple hairstyle will cause fleas to jump off the scalp. Lice, however, do live on the scalp and flea shampoos are effective against them. Do not use flea or lice killing shampoos on children without first consulting a doctor.

Aromatic alternatives

If fleas are the only problem, consider some alternatives to pesticidal shampoos. Scents repel fleas, so you can use peppermint, citronella, or lemon with your shampoo to create an aromatic barrier on your scalp.

Besides shampoo

Shampoos attack only part of the problem. If you are bitten by a flea, there are many more in the environment and each one lays about 60 eggs per day. According to the Earth Easy website, these eggs hatch every 90 days, ensuring a steady and increasing rise if left untreated. Measures to control fleas in the environment include washing bedding in hot water, putting flea-killing powder on carpets, and then vacuuming several times to remove dead fleas and eggs. At night, place a bowl of soap and water near your pet’s bed to attract and drown the adult fleas. Diatomaceous earth is a natural product that controls fleas and you should only leave it in the environment, such as in the bed of your pets.

Frequently asked questions

How do I know if I have fleas?

First of all, it’s not a myth, flea bites are very itchy. So the little phrase “stop scratching, do you have fleas?” is amply justified. Flea bites appear as papules. Papules are solid pimples, that is, there is no flow of fluid. The papules are pink or slightly protruding red, you can’t miss them! These small papules appear in privileged areas such as the ankles and legs.

See this video: How to use a flea comb for dogs and cats?

What are the complications of a flea bite?

Flea bites can lead to complications if you become super-infected. This is because the skin lesions can get worse and then appear more serious symptoms than the itching, such as fever or anemia. Many infections can be transmitted by fleas, which pass from host to host, such as plague, typhus, or even intestinal worms. To avoid this kind of complication, remember to closely monitor your bedding, small blood stains are revealing clues.

What to do against the invasion of fleas?

When the fleas have invited themselves and frolic on your body, no choice: a treatment is needed very fast! Treatment depends on the individual and the degree of infestation. In fact, in all cases consult your doctor. But you can disinfect the bites with an antiseptic solution. For people with allergies, antihistamines are strongly recommended. Finally, flea bites can lead to bacterial infections, in this case, you’ll need antibiotics! Remember to consult your doctor.

What is the most common type of fleas?

The most common flea in pets is the cat flea. It has no unconditional host specificity and can therefore pass from animals to humans. The real human flea (Pulex irritans), however, has become rare in Central Europe.

We hope you’ve learned one or two about dog fleas infestation on human hair. Do you have any questions? You can ask in the comment section. Also, don’t forget to like and share the article.

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