Flea Eggs VS Dandruff: How to Spot the Difference

Any signs of white specks in cat fur or your dog’s coat is a cause for concern. After all, white specks like that can be a clear sign of flea eggs in dog hair, which will hatch to become a flea infestation.

However, white specks in your cat or dog’s coat do not always equal flea eggs. There is a good chance that the white specks you see are actually dog or kitten dandruff. So before you invest in expensive treatments, it’s best to know how to best tell the difference between the two.

All About Fleas

If you think that the white specks in your dog’s fur might be fleas, then you may be wondering how they got there.

Fleas are typically found hiding in tall grass and bushes. Dogs make a great host, so when your dog explores the outsides, fleas will hop on. Even with anti-flea medication, there is a good chance that one or two fleas will make a home on your dog or cat during their lifetime. Fleas can’t feed or thrive off of humans, so you will rarely ever find flea eggs in human hair or on your skin. But you run the risk of being bitten by them while they seek out a suitable host.

Once a female flea finds a host, it will lay eggs within the first 24 hours and continue to lay even more as she feeds. Because of the swift reproduction timeframe, flea infestations can happen quickly and suddenly.

What Do Flea Eggs Look Like?

Unlike dandruff, flea eggs are uniform in appearance. They’re oblong with rounded ends, resembling tiny grains of rice. They are also stickier than dandruff and won’t shake off easily.

Dogs suffering from a flea infestation may also be covered in small spackles of what appears to be brown dirt. This is flea dirt, which is actually fecal matter left behind by the flea. To confirm, remove some of the flea dirt with a wet paper towel and smear it. If it leaves a reddish trail, then it is flea dirt.

How To Treat A Flea Infestation

If your dog or cat is covered in flea eggs, they also have a flea infestation. Your pet should be taken to the veterinarian immediately.

You can use salt to clean your home of fleas. Grind refined salt as finely as possible to get into every crevice, and spread over any carpet, furniture, or upholstery in your home. Let sit for 12 to 48 hours, then vacuum. Repeat every 7 days until all fleas are gone.

The salt will dehydrate the fleas and kill them. But consuming salt is also dangerous for dogs and cats, so keep them away from any salted areas until it is vacuumed.

All About Dandruff

If the white specks in your dog or cat’s fur aren’t uniformly shaped or sticky, then it’s most likely dandruff.

Dandruff is caused by irritated skin, but there are many factors that can irritate the skin. There are environmental factors like the weather and old age that can cause the skin to become irritated. But dandruff can also be caused by skin infections and even fleas themselves.

What Does Dandruff Look Like?

To confirm that the white specks in your pet’s coat aren’t fleas, look for small, thin flecks that stick to the fur. It will often develop in areas your dog or cat can easily scratch or bite.

How To Treat Dandruff

Like flea eggs, we recommend talking to your vet about what can be done to lessen the irritation on your dog’s skin. While dandruff itself isn’t dangerous, the irritated skin that causes it can become infected if not treated.

You will also need to thoroughly groom your pet moving forward, making sure to clean the dirt and grime out of their fur on a regular basis. Your vet will most likely recommend shampoos that will work great for your pet as well as an ideal bathing schedule. You should also invest in a brush that is appropriate for your dog’s coat

Protecting against fleas and dander is especially important as the weather gets warmer and your dog uses their premium pet door more frequently. Check out these other summertime pet care tips:

Mia Daniele

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Mia Daniele

Copy Editor

Pets: I have a fluffy, 14 year old chow-collie mix with red fur named Rosso. He's very stubborn and has the standoffish personality of a cat.
Fun stuff: I am a hot chocolate connoisseur.

Copy Editor

Pets: I have a fluffy, 14 year old chow-collie mix with red fur named Rosso. He's very stubborn and has the standoffish personality of a cat.
Fun stuff: I am a hot chocolate connoisseur.

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