Has your dog ever nibbled at your skin? While it may seem like they’re trying to bite or hurt you, this probably isn’t the case. It is likely they’re doing something called flea biting. Now that you have a name for this odd behavior, you may have even more questions. What is flea biting? Why do dogs flea bite? How can I stop dog flea biting me? Continue reading, and we’ll explore all of these questions to help you learn more about dogs flea biting.
What is Flea Biting?
When a dog lightly bites or nibbles their skin using their teeth it is called flea biting. This action has been given the name “flea biting” since it resembles what a dog does when they have fleas and are trying to get rid of the fleas and find relief from the itchiness they cause. You may also hear flea biting referred to as “baby biting” or “nibbling”.
In addition to flea biting themselves, dogs sometimes will flea bite humans, other dogs, or even bedding or blankets. If you’ve noticed this strange behavior, you may be asking, “why do dogs flea bite when I pet her?”
We’ll explore this question in the next section.
Why does my dog flea bite me?
Why does my dog nibble me? If your dog has been flea biting at you as if there are fleas on your skin, don’t worry. It doesn’t mean that you actually have fleas. Fleas can’t lay eggs on humans. It is possible to get a few bites from fleas if they jump to you from a pet, but you shouldn’t be worried about a possible flea infestation on yourself that your dog is somehow trying to save you from.
So, why is your dog flea biting you if you don’t actually have fleas? There are actually a few possible explanations for this behavior.
One possibility is that your dog has fleas. If your dog has fleas, their skin is itchy and irritated, so they’ll likely be flea biting themselves. When your dog flea bits you, it may just be a sign of confusion about where the fleas actually are and which areas are itchy at the moment.
If you’ve ruled out a flea infestation on your pup, there are other reasons they may be flea biting you. Your dog could be bored, desiring attention, or lacking in opportunities to properly get out their energy.
Another possible cause for flea biting is teething. If you have a younger puppy, they could be nibbling at you to relieve the itchiness on their gums caused by teething.
One final cause for flea biting is love. While you may not agree with your dog’s methods, he or she may simply be trying to show that they love you and consider you a member of their pack by nibbling at your skin.
Why does my dog flea bite himself?
So, why do dogs “flea” bite himself?
If your dog is biting himself, the most likely cause is that he has fleas. Fleas can irritate a dog’s skin and make them itchy. Biting at their skin is the easiest way for them to relieve the itch and try to groom themselves to get rid of the fleas.
If your dog doesn’t have fleas, something else may be making him or her itchy. Your dog could have an allergy (either to a food or to something in their environment) or dry skin that is making them itchy.
Sometimes when dogs get an injury, they will also bite their skin. If you notice your dog is biting the same area, it would be a good idea to inspect the area to see if it looks like there is an injury.
Why do dogs flea bite each other?
The reasons dogs flea bite each other are similar to the reasons dogs flea bite their owners. They can be showing love and affection, playing around with each other, or trying to groom the other dog.
How can I get my dog to stop flea biting?
Now that you understand the possible causes of flea biting, let’s look at what you can do to stop your dog from flea biting you.
Here are a few different things to consider:
- Determine whether your dog has fleas: If your dog is flea biting because they have fleas, you’ll want to act quickly to get rid of their fleas. Consider using a flea shampoo, Frontline, or even essential oils to get rid of the fleas on your dogs. Then, thoroughly clean and vacuum your home to get rid of any lingering fleas. Once your dog isn’t itchy from the fleas anymore, they may stop flea biting you.
- Increase the amount of exercise and activity your dog gets: As we shared above, one possible reason for flea biting is boredom. If you suspect this is the cause for your dog, get them more exercise each day. Take them on longer walks and buy them more stimulating toys for both indoor and outdoor playtime.
- Train your dog to stop flea biting: If you suspect your dog is flea biting you to show affection or try to groom you, you can try to use positive reinforcement training to get them to stop. Any time they flea bite you, say “no.” If they stop when directed, give them a treat as a reward. Slowly phase out the treats once the flea biting occurs less frequently.
Final Thoughts on Flea Biting
If your dog is flea biting you, it can seem quite strange. Often, this behavior is harmless, but in some cases it may indicate that your dog has fleas. If your dog has started flea biting, checking them to see if they have fleas should be one of your first steps. If you find fleas on your dog, act quickly to kill the fleas and follow a plan using flea sprays and other safe and natural flea treatments.
If your dog is flea biting at his or her blankets, it may mean that they have fleas that need to be treated. Other possible causes for a dog flea biting blankets include teething, having been weaned prematurely, boredom, and anxiety.