Can Dog Fleas Transfer to Humans?

Over 50-percent of the US households have pets, and most of these animals share beds with humans.

Fleas will be found on carpet, clothing, pets, and floors – these provide excellent shelter for the bugs (thanks to the fur and fabric). But can dog fleas transfer to humans? 

Well, YES, fleas (mainly cat fleas) can transfer to humans from pets like dogs & cats – they’ll bite humans but they won’t live for long on you (except the Pulex irritans – human fleas). 

Despite that fleas can be transferred to humans (as their “carrier”), they’ll only live over a short term in clothes and on your skin before jumping onto cats or dogs. 

  • Further, once they feed on the pet’s blood, the fleas will reproduce and lay eggs (that’ll grow into larvae) on the car upholstery, carpets, and other furniture. 

Details: Can Dog Fleas Transfer to Humans?

As noted above, fleas can jump onto humans from their pets; mainly dogs and cats. So, if you notice some dark speck on some bright-coloured socks after walking on a carpet – it’s likely to be fleas.

  • While dogs (and cats too) may significantly enrich your life, keeping them close could risk infestation with fleas among other ectoparasites. 

Thus, despite that you love holding your pup close, you might require to put them in that dog house also adopt appropriate indoor flea treatment. 

Fleas come in over 2,000+ species,  but only the Pulex irritans (human fleas) will live on humans and prefer people as their host as opposed to pets. 

  • Humans have less hair compared and thus will expose fleas to environmental and chemical hazards. Also, the dog fleas love dog hosts as their blood allows maximum reproduction. 

So, many of the fleas will realize the challenges on the human skin and thus rush to jump onto some pup or other hiding spots in the house.

Also, fleas will invade livestock, rodents, birds, or various other mammals – they love the safety and warmth on the animal’s fluffy bodies – feathers and fur. 

  • Fleas may bite and suck blood from humans for a maximum of 12 hours – but it’s possible that they’ll be found before this time expires.

Will fleas survive in the human hair? Well, fleas won’t live on the human hair – they’ll largely bite your legs, ankles, and feet – they’ll jump from the floor or a pet bed. 

But how long will these fleas live or stay on humans? Well, simply a very short time. This is because we lack feathers or fur like birds and some mammals do to allow fleas (and their eggs or larvae) to hide. 

So, yes fleas will bite humans around their legs, ankles, and feet – they’ll bite 3 times in a single row – but it may cause a hypersensitive reaction with no skin lesions. 

Any Danger Posed by Flea Bites to Humans?

Well, YES, fleas will be more than just a nuisance to humans, homes, and pets. They may even cause severe conditions that’ll affect their health.

1. Risk of Tapeworm

Fleas will carry various organisms like tapeworms – and thus when humans or animals ingest these fleas, they could get tapeworms. Kids are at a higher risk of ingesting fleas. 

  • Tapeworms may have a limited effect on the health of pets or humans. Check for white objects similar to seeds of pumpkins (the proglottids) in the pet or human faeces. 

Fleas will act as an intermediate host for that Dipylidium caninum (tapeworms). So, treat the dogs and cats for tapeworms to prevent serious infections. 

  • If cats feed on the flea-infected mice, they may get tapeworms.

Treatment for the tapeworms may include praziquantel for either pet (injection) or humans (orally) as this will cause these tapeworms to readily die and dissolve. 

2. Flea-borne diseases

Fleas may transmit or carry a variety of illnesses – which would catch humans – these include “cat scratch disease”, plague, and typhus. 

  • Further, the spot with the flea bite could also get infected by various pathogens and cause redness, extreme pain, and swollen glands.

a. Murine Typhus 

Fleas that carry Murine typhus are mainly carried by rats – but cats too may get them and thus it’ll land on your other pets and household. 

  • The Rickettsia typhi, that’s in faeces may infect the bite would and thus cause infection and scratching.

Some of the signs of the typhus condition include body aches, nausea, fever, and headache. The legs, arms, and body could experience rashed from the flea bite in 5 – 6 days. 

  • Antibiotics are a great remedy for the Rickettsia typhi condition – this will prevent hospitalization

b. Mycoplasma haemofelis 

Mycoplasma haemofelis are cat-transmitted bacteria from bites by mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas – it’ll cause anaemia and fever in your dogs & cats. 

  • Equally, the M. haemofelis may cause destroying the red blood cells of your cat and hence compromise its immune system – causing anaemia. 

Some antibiotics may help treat the Mycoplasma haemofelis in the affected animals. 

c. Cat Scratch Disease 

Cat Scratch Disease is caused by the Bartonella henselae bacteria that are mainly found in felines – this affects roughly 40% of the cat population in their lifetime. 

  • The condition will cause grave symptoms in cats including decreased appetite, swollen lymph nodes, red eyes, and vomiting. 
  • The cat could experience fever for 2-3 days – but the feline friend may not show serious symptoms. 

The humans may catch Bartonella henselae from the pets if they’re scratched or bitten – especially if this causes skin breakage or if it’s around scabs or wounds.

3. Allergic Reactions

Fleas bites will equally trigger an allergic reaction for humans – this is since your skin and body will react to the chemical composition of that flea’s saliva.

Other effects are:

  • Infection
  • Hives
  • Extreme itchiness
  • Irritated & red skin


In summary; on the questions; can dog fleas transfer to humans? Well, Yes, fleas can transfer to humans but they’ll only be there for a short time as they’ll jump onto favourable hosts like dogs.

  • You can use flea repellent for humans or flea spray for your house – like pesticides. 
  • Foggers and flea sprays will equally help exterminate the bugs from your home. 

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