Small Black Bugs On My Dog (What On Earth Is It?!)

small black bugs on dog

As an adult, I’m kinda ashamed at how fast I can run or how loud I can shriek when I see a big creepy crawly. Some of these bugs even up the ante by charging toward you.

However, not all bugs are found crawling on your floor or hanging off the wall. It is possible to even find tiny black bugs crawling on your dog’s skin or dog’s fur. But what are these small black bugs that are on your dog?

These small black bugs on your dog could be a number of things. The more common parasites are fleas and ticks. Though it could also be other types of bugs and insects that have gotten onto your dog. Make sure to check for any bites or irritation on your dog’s skin.

In this article, we will be taking a closer look at how you can identify the more common parasites and more importantly, getting rid of them effectively.


Fleas are a common parasite that are found on our dogs and they can be difficult to spot because they are so very tiny.

But if you do notice tiny blackish and dark brown spots on your dog, those are probably fleas

An adult flea is only about an eighth of an inch long but despite their tiny sizes, fleas are known for one thing.

Their amazing jumping prowess.

A flea can jump up to 80 times its own height and to put that into perspective, that would make a human being able to leap over anything taller than 480 feet!

That is how fleas get onto their host, mainly by jumping off from another host or from the environment when your dog is outdoors.

Fleas are parasites because they feed off your dog’s blood. And a single flea can consume up to 15 times its body weight.

Once the female fleas have feasted, they will start to lay their flea eggs on your dog. This can lead to hundreds of fleas on your poor dog if left untreated.

Symptoms of a flea infestation include:

  • Excessive scratching and biting
  • Red and inflamed skin
  • Anemia
  • Tapeworms from ingesting fleas

How Do I Get Rid Of Fleas On My Dog?

flea comb for dogs

Getting rid of fleas on your dog is a rather straightforward process. All you need are the following:

  • Anti-flea medication
  • Anti-flea shampoo
  • Flea comb

Once the fleas are spotted, bathe your dog well using anti-flea shampoo to remove as many fleas as possible.

Next, use a flea comb and dip it in some dawn dish soap. Brush your dog’s fur from head to tail to remove as many fleas and flea dirt from your dog’s skin and fur.

If your dog has a bad infestation, get some anti-flea medication from your vet and apply it to your dog.

Don’t bathe your dog just before applying the flea treatment as the dog’s natural skin oil is required to spread the medication effectively.

The active ingredient will get into your dog’s bloodstream and eliminate the remaining fleas when they feed on your dog.

Don’t forget about regular flea prevention even though all the fleas are dead. Dogs tend to get fleas more often as they are outdoors a lot more than our cats.


ticks on dogs

Ticks are also parasites that are commonly found on our dog’s skin. Unlike fleas which are really tiny, ticks are bigger and easier to spot.

Ticks aren’t great jumpers like fleas but they will climb or cling onto your dog when your dog walks through grasslands or a forested area.

These parasites are also dangerous to dogs as they can transmit diseases like:

  • Lyme disease
  • Rocky mountain spotted fever
  • Babesiosis
  • Hepatozoonosis

Similar to fleas, ticks can start to breed and lay eggs on your dog if left untreated. This can cause a serious tick infestation in no time.

There are more than one species of tick that can infect our dogs. The more common ones are:

  • American dog ticks
  • Deer tick
  • Lone star tick
  • Brown dog tick

The above ticks can be found in different regions of the United States.

How Do I Get Rid Of Ticks On My Dog?

Most anti-flea shampoos and medication will work well on ticks too. So make sure to use that on your dog.

But you can’t use a flea comb to remove ticks as that can do more harm to your dog.

You see, when ticks feed on your dog, they will burrow their entire head into your dog’s skin to really get a good meal.

And if you do not remove the tick properly from your dog, it can cause an infection in the bite area.

Use a pair of tweezers or a tick removal tool and gently pull the tick out of your dog’s skin in an upward motion.

I wouldn’t use any dish soap on the ticks as that can make them regurgitate toxins back into your dog’s bloodstream. Manual removal is usually the best way to get rid of these darn pests.

Time-consuming but it works.


dog lice

I remember when I and my siblings were kids, my mom would tell us to keep away from the kid that scratches a lot in class because there’s a high chance of lice.

Thankfully I never did encounter any compulsive scratchers in school.

Dog lice are small and flat insects that live in the thick and dense fur of your dog.

They have hooks at the end of their legs which allows them to firmly grip onto your dog’s fur. Dog lice are transmitted from another dog or from contaminated grooming equipment.

There are different species of lice that can affect both humans and dogs. But the good thing is that dog lice cannot be transmitted to humans.

Dog lice feed on your dog’s blood as well and can cause symptoms like:

  • Excessive itching
  • Skin inflammation
  • Restlessness
  • Hairloss

The best way to spot dog lice is to part your dog’s fur and take a look at the hair shaft.

Lice are very tiny like fleas but can be seen with the naked eye. They resemble moving sesame seeds that are very dark brown in color.

How Do I Get Rid Of Dog Lice?

A dog lice infestation is rather uncommon these days as they tend to attack dogs who are in poor health and living in unhygienic conditions.

The best way to remove lice from your dog is by using a medicated shampoo and getting anti-lice medication from the vet.

A flea comb can also help to remove as many dog lice and their eggs from your dog.

Repeated treatments are required to fully get rid of dog lice from your dog’s fur.

How Do I Know If My Dog Has Mites?

The reason why I didn’t include mites on the list is that they are too small to be seen with the naked eye. You actually need a microscope to clearly see mites.

There is one type of mite that can be seen with the eye even though they are very small. They are called Cheyletiella and these mites are white in color rather than black.

There are two types of mites that can infest dogs. They are the Demodex mites and Sarcoptes Mites.

Symptoms of a mite infestation in dogs include:

  • Red scaly skin
  • Hairloss
  • Itching
  • Dandruff

Your dog can get mites from other dogs and form the environment. These mites can give your dog a terrible itch and skin lesions.

As there are different types of mites, the best form of treatment is to take your dog to the vet and have its skin examined.

Once the vet has ascertained the exact type of mite, the proper medication can be administered to your dog.

What Do Dog Mites Look Like?

Mites are less than a millimeter in length and can either be circular or tubular in shape, depending on the type of mites. They look more like spiders due to having eight legs.

What If I Can’t Identify The Tiny Black Bug?

Unless you are an Entomologist, it might not be possible to identify every tiny black bug that you find on your dog that isn’t a tick, flea or lice.

If you just notice a few on your dog, just remove them and make sure that there are no bites on your dog.

But if you do notice an infestation, the correct thing to do is to try and capture the bug on your dog and let your vet identify it.

Your dog might have walked into the nest or habitat of some insect which could have then stuck on its coat.


It can be difficult to prevent such infestations from happening to your dog given the lifestyle of our canine companions.

Dogs love to be outdoors and play with other dogs so the chances of getting an infestation are a lot higher as compared to an indoor cat.

As dog owners, we should make it a point to regularly check our dog’s fur and skin for any irritation or infestation.

You can also help to prevent these parasites from attacking your dog by using anti-parasitic shampoo once every few weeks and making sure your dog keeps away from grassy and forested areas.

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