Can I Get Fleas From My Pet?

Find out if humans can get fleas from pets 🦟😮

Fleas. You know all about those pesky little bugs, and maybe your dog or cat has even had a case of the fleas once or twice before.

But have you ever wondered if you yourself can get fleas?

To find out if humans can actually get fleas, The Dodo reached out to Dr. Chyrle Bonk, a veterinarian working with Doggie Designer, and Dr. Linda Simon, a veterinary surgeon and consultant for Five Barks, for the inside scoop.

Can humans get fleas from their pets?

Yes, humans can get fleas, but not in the same way that pets do.

While humans can’t get a flea infestation like their BFFs can (we just don’t have all that hair that fleas love to hide in), fleas can still bite humans.

Can fleas live on humans?

“Fleas cannot live on people,” Dr. Bonk told The Dodo. “Fleas like the dark and warm confines of hair or fur, and people just simply don’t have enough of these to keep them happy. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t jump over from your dog and try to test out how hospitable a person’s body might be.”

This means that while fleas won’t hop aboard and move in, they’ll happily take a bite to see what you’re all about.

Can I get fleas in my hair?

Technically, you can get fleas in your hair, but it’s the same deal as anywhere else on your body — the fleas aren’t going to stay there for long.

“Fleas will not live in our hair,” Dr. Simon told The Dodo. “Though they may land on us by accident, they will soon jump off in search of a more ‘appropriate’ host.”

So if you do end up with a flea bite or two on your scalp, you’ll at least be relieved to know the little pest isn’t setting up camp.

What do flea bites look like on humans?

Flea bites can turn into very itchy red bumps that can cause you a lot of discomfort. Sometimes they can be little bumps or even appear in clusters. They’re often mistaken for different bug bites since they’re similar in appearance.

can humans get fleas
Flea bites on humans are easy to mistake for other bites or irritations. | Shutterstock

You can see flea bites most commonly on the lower parts of your body, like your legs, feet and ankles, but they can also appear on the upper part of the body if you sleep with your pets.

Some signs of flea bites on humans include:

  • Swelling
  • Reddening
  • Itchiness
  • Area is sore or painful
  • Burning sensations around the bites

How to treat flea bites on humans

Although you can easily treat flea bites at home with common ingredients that can be found in your kitchen, it’s also best to see a doctor if you have a flea bite and you’re allergic or the bite becomes infected.

When treating flea bites at home, you just need to:

1. Wash the area with soap and water.
2. Treat it with an antiseptic.
3. Let it heal.

How to get rid of fleas

If you notice fleas on your pet or flea bites on you, it’s time to take action.

Treat all furry animals in the home — this includes all dogs and cats — with a product prescribed by your vet,” Dr. Bonk recommended. “Over-the-counter flea medications generally don’t work as well and can even be dangerous.”

Protect your dog from fleas with K9 Advantix II from Chewy for $69.98

Protect your cat from fleas with Revolution Plus from Chewy for $76.49

Other steps to take to get rid of fleas in your home include:

Treat your home.

You don’t just need to treat your pets, you should also treat your home, too.

“You will then need to treat your house since unhatched eggs that are lingering in your carpet and other places will eventually hatch and start their own infestation,” Dr. Bonk said.

Try this PETARMOR Home and Carpet Powder for Fleas and Ticks from Chewy for $7.58

Vacuum repeatedly.

Repeated vacuuming of all possible surfaces, including carpets, furniture and drapes, can get rid of most eggs.

Wash everything.

Wash all pet beds, pillows or cushions that are washable in hot water.

Consider a premise spray.

Dr. Bonk also recommends considering a premise spray that’s safe and effective.

Try this Zoecon Precor 2000 Plus Premise Spray from Amazon for $24.49

“Note that some of these sprays require pets and people to be out of the house until they are dry, so be sure to read the labels before using,” Dr. Bonk said.

So while you can’t get fleas like your dog or cat can, you can still get bitten. The best way to avoid this is to always take preventative measures to ensure your pet is protected from fleas at all times.

But if she ever does bring some in the house (or on you), taking action as quickly as possible will help you get back to normal — and to all that snuggling.

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