How Much Do Fleas Poop In Their Lifetime [77mg]

If you want to ensure the health and cleanliness of your pet, you want to know to prevent and treat a flea infestation, and part of this is to know the amount of flea poop you will be dealing with when you have a flea problem. Flea poop, better known as flea dirt, is a serious matter. Here, we will show you the actual amount of poop that fleas will produce on your pet and surroundings.

On average, a flea produces from 0.645 mg to around 0.770 mg poop every day. A female flea that lays eggs produces 0.85 mg poop each day, which is 17 times more than what the male produces at around 0.05 mg. In its lifetime of 100 days, a flea can produce 64.5 to 77 mg poop total.

Multiply this amount with the number of fleas infesting your pet and your home.

If your infestation is bad and the fleas are significantly numerous, then you have a large flea poop problem.

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Aside from the problem of fleas feeding on your pet’s blood and spreading diseases, you also have flea dirt messing with your pet’s fur. It needs to be cleaned up. So you need to know how to tackle this dilemma.

The Amount of Flea Dirt Produced Each Day

Fleas, just like all animals, expel feces or poop. The excreta of fleas is commonly referred to as flea dirt. The average amount of feces that cat fleas produce is from 0.645 up to 0.770 mg per day. The poop’s composition is a mix of the host’s dried blood and fecal matter.

Flea dirt looks like a tiny black speck. The fleas defecate directly on the fur of dogs and cats where they feed. As the host conducts grooming, the flea dirt is removed and falls to the ground.

Fleas consume more blood than what they actually need. Their digestive system can contain approximately 5 µl blood even if they suck an average of 6.97 µl blood from their host each day.

Meanwhile, if the female flea is egg-laying, it consumes 13.6 µl blood per day, which weighs 15 times more than her own weight. This makes fleas excrete a large amount of fecal matter.

Fleas have a random feeding behavior, sucking blood for two to three minutes at any given time. For every feeding session, a flea produces eight to ten droplets of flea dirt, expelling a total weight of 0.645 to 0.770 mg flea dirt each day. Female fleas expel more feces than males, approximately 17 times more. Females produce 0.85 mg versus the 0.05 mg produced by males daily.

In general, fleas live for two to three months. With a sufficient supply of food, a flea can live for approximately 100 days. If individual fleas produce 0.645 to 0.770 mg each day, then a flea can produce 64.5 to 77 mg poop for its entire lifetime.

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How to Detect the Presence of Fleas

cat flea
Image credit: Insect Images

One way by which you can detect the presence of fleas in your pet is to look for flea feces. If you notice that your pet is scratching itself more often than normal, try checking for flea dirt on its fur.

If the infestation is still minimal, you might find it hard to detect actual fleas on your pet. This is due to the fact that fleas move and jump fast. Once you touch your pet’s fur, the fleas quickly scurry of jump away, so that you can easily miss them.

On the other hand, it is comparably easier to look for signs of their presence, and one sure sign is the presence of flea dirt. These parasites produce a lot of feces, so that even if you only have a mild flea infestation, you will still almost surely find flea dirt.

Flea dirt also does not move, so that it can easily be spotted. Flea dirt is a good sign that alerts you to the fact that you have a growing flea problem.

Flea Dirt Facts

Flea dirt is composed of a mixture of fecal matter and the fleas’ blood meal. The presence of flea dirt will let you feel a gritty texture when you are stroking or petting your dog or cat. Their appearance is similar to dirt specks, and they are usually shaped like a comma.

You can confirm if a dirt speck is flea dirt by placing some of them over a paper towel or white paper. Put a little water on your finger, then touch and smear the speck.

If the speck produces a streak of blood, then it is confirmed to be flea dirt. Blood is present on flea poop because blood is the main diet of adult fleas.

Flea dirt can appear as small black flakes or small clumps, and you can run a flea comb on your pet’s fur to produce pepper-like, black residue which confirms that flea dirt is present. Flea dirt appears like regular dirt, and it can easily be mistaken for one.

When you bathe your pet, you can confirm the presence of flea dirt if you see that the water becomes red due to the dried blood that makes up the flea dirt.

You should remember that the presence of flea dirt is not a sure indication of the presence of fleas. It is possible that fleas could have been there at some point in time, although they have since left your pet or have died already due to anti-flea medication or your pet’s grooming and licking.

How Flea Dirt Affects Dogs and Cats

The presence of flea dirt suggests the presence of fleas either at present or in the immediate past. It is safe to assume that you have a budding flea problem on your hands, and that fleas are already present in your pet and home.

The problem with fleas is that they quickly multiply, and you will find them to be a major problem sooner rather than later.

Fleas bite your pet repetitively, and may also bite you. Flea bites are irritating and leave you and your pet open to allergic reactions and bacterial infection. Flea allergy may cause adverse reactions such as hair loss and rashes. They can even affect the appetite of your pet and consequently affect their overall health.

In addition, some fleas are common carriers of pathogenic microorganisms that cause serious diseases. The fleas can pass them on to you and your pet and cause illness.  

Thus, finding flea dirt on your pet or surroundings is a signal for you to take immediate action before your flea problem gets worse and uncontrollable.

Flea allergic dermatitis is a condition wherein your pet experiences an allergic reaction to the saliva of the flea that is infesting it. Your pet experiences extreme itchiness and scratches the affected parts, especially the base of its tail.

The affected skin can become reddened and swollen. They can also develop wounds, scabs, and sores.

While it is certainly possible that pets may have flea dirt but not a flea infestation, this is highly improbable. Once you find evidence of fleas, particularly flea dirt, on your cat or dog, you cannot assume that the fleas just made a quick snack on your your pet without deciding to stay.

If a flea was able to defecate on your pet, it certainly had time enough to suck its blood. And with this, it also would have probably had the time to mate there. This is due to the fact that female fleas lay their eggs within just two days after feeding.

The eggs of fleas are almost impossible to see with the naked eye. The fleas themselves are already small enough to escape notice. If you do not see any adult fleas on your pet, the presence of their flea dirt indicates a very high probability that they are hiding somewhere on the fur of your pet.

How to Clean Flea Poop

You can reveal more of the flea dirt that is in the fur of your pet by running a flea comb through the fur. You can also run your fingers on the fur. Run them against the fur’s natural direction in order to better reflect the inner layers.

This method can reveal just how extensive the amount of flea dirt is on your dog and cat. You may even see actual adult fleas.

Fleas usually prefer certain parts of your pet’s body. These areas include the back part around the tail, up to the central part of the body. You may also find them around the area of the groin and in between your pet’s hind legs. Typically, fleas avoid the neck and head regions.

If there are flea dirt present but absolutely no fleas, there is the possibility that the fleas were eaten by your pet during their grooming activities. This is usually the case with cats, who have a higher tendency to groom compared to dogs. It is also possible that the fleas could have jumped away.

What is sure about the presence of flea dirt is that fleas were feeding on your pet fairly recently. Compared to other external parasites, fleas spend less time on your pet, especially during their younger stages. When they are not on your dog or cat, they are staying in surrounding areas.

It is also possible to spot flea dirt around the home, especially around your pet’s favorite areas. When treating fleas, these areas should be included.

Fleas, along with flea dirt, will not just go away on their own. Fleas love your pets too much, as they are the source of their sustenance. It is therefore important to take aggressive action.

You need to eliminate fleas from your pets and your home as soon as possible, and your efforts should be very thorough. Failing to eliminate all fleas will waste your efforts because the remaining fleas can easily multiply again.

Below, we will enumerate the ways by which you can clean flea poop.

Bathe your pets and groom them

flea-collar
Image credit: Canva

You may use anti-flea shampoo on your pet and bathe them daily. Also make sure to brush and comb them thoroughly every day in order to take out fleas and monitor their presence.

Bathing will eliminate flea dirt present on the fur. Your veterinarian can recommend a good soap or shampoo. Ivory soap can also be used once.

Eliminate fleas

The most important step in eliminating flea poop is to successfully eliminate the fleas that produce them. If you only focus on eliminating the flea dirt itself, you will never succeed because the fleas will continue to produce more poop.

Treat your pet with anti-flea medication ang treat the surroundings too. Treat your other pets, even if they do not seem to be affected. If only some pets are treated and not others, some fleas will remain and survive to multiply again. Leave nothing for fleas to use as a sanctuary.

If your veterinarian prescribes anti-flea medication for your pet, this medication may be removed or reduced in effectiveness if you bathe your pet. Therefore, coordinate closely with your veterinarian regarding the treatment plan, especially if they prescribe topical medication.

Some recommended anti-flea products include medications under the isoxazoline family of drugs. There are others, and your veterinarian is the best person to determine what is best for your pets. Some medications are oral in nature.

It is important to put your dog and cat on a year-long flea preventive program to ensure that you, your pets, and your home are protected from fleas.

Clean the beddings and the environment

Clean the environment as part of an effective flea and flea dirt elimination program. You should clean your pet’s bedding thoroughly, and even your own bed and beddings, sheets, pillowcases, and other related materials.

Thoroughly clean the areas that your pet is constantly in contact with, such as the the floors, the furniture, and all the other places they frequent.

These areas can serve as a hiding place for fleas. They are also the living areas of immature life stages of fleas, such as larvae, pupae, and eggs. They love lurking in places that are hidden, such as cracks, crevices, and on carpets and similar places.

Vacuum your surroundings thoroughly

Vacuuming is part of the cleaning regimen you should implement in your home and surroundings. Vacuum the carpets, the furniture, and the crevices on the floor and around the house.

This will suck up the flea eggs, larvae, and pupae that are hiding in these places. It will also suck the adult fleas.

Vacuum your pet’s sleeping areas, its toys, and other places such as under rugs, couch cushions, baseboards, and similar areas that can be used by fleas for hiding.

The vacuuming process should be conducted daily for several weeks to ensure that the life cycle of the fleas is broken and that they are completely removed.

It is important to seal the vacuum bags properly and dispose of them outdoors in a manner that will prevent the fleas from coming back to your house to pester you again.

Use flea bombs

It may be necessary to use flea bombs to eliminate the fleas. This method requires much effort and planning, and you need to make sure that you do it properly, or you will only waste your time and effort.

You need to evacuate all pets and people in the areas to be treated. Also, cover or remove all food items that may be affected by the flea poison.

Hire a pest control expert and exterminator

If the fleas still prove to be resistant to all your eradication efforts, you may have to resort to getting the services of expert pest control professionals to help you. They have many years of experience and they usually know how to tackle your problem in the most efficient and effective manner.

Prevent flea infestation

If you have successfully eliminated the fleas, or if you still do not have a flea problem, it is important to prevent them from getting future access to your home and pets.

Preventive medication on your pets can take care of the fleas that can hitch on them when they are outdoors.

You can also check your clothing whenever you arrive home for the presence of any fleas that may have hitched a ride on your clothes.

You may separate these clothes and put them in a laundry room or an isolated area upon entering your home, to ensure that any fleas which may have entered are not allowed access to other parts of the house.

Also check your socks and shoes. It only takes two breeding fleas to gain access to your home and start a full-blown infestation.

Related questions

What natural substance can kill fleas?

Salt and baking soda are great natural flea remedies. Salt eliminates fleas by dehydrating them. You can use finely ground salt to sprinkle on your carpets.

Do fleas bite your private parts?

Fleas usually bite on your lower extremities, such as your legs, ankles, and your feet. In addition, fleas are attracted to hair, so that they may be seen in your genital areas or scalp.

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