What Are These Little Black Bugs On My Dog?

There is nothing worse than brushing through your dog’s fur, only to discover crawling critters that have made your dog their home.

Fleas are the most common tiny black bugs that you will find crawling across your dog’s skin, but there are other insects to be aware of as well.

Fleas are a common threat to dogs, but they are not the only ectoparasites that dog owners should be educated on.

Some of these other insects can transmit deadly diseases to pets and humans, making it essential to treat them quickly to prevent potential complications.

Not only can tiny black insects be a potential health threat for your dog, but they can quickly multiply once they enter your home.

Much like dealing with bed bugs or another infestation within the home, you need to be diligent to make sure the issue has been resolved.

In this guide, we are going to share the most common causes of black bugs on your dog, and offer guidance to help you banish these insects for good.

Tiny Black Bugs On My Dog Not Fleas


If you see tiny black bugs on your dog, it’s highly likely that you are dealing with a case of fleas.

Fleas are very small, around 1/8 of an inch, and often appear dark brown to black in color.

They are a flat insect, and will often be found jumping long distances and scurrying throughout your dog’s fur.

Fleas also cause significant skin irritation, so you can expect to see your pup scratching at every opportunity.

In most cases, fleas can be seen with the naked eye.

Not only will you be able to see the insects if there are enough of them on your pet, but you will also see the dirt they leave behind.

Flea dirt looks like tiny black speckles deposited throughout the fur, often turning red the moment their fur gets wet.

Fleas are also prolific breeders, as female fleas can lay at least 2,000 eggs on dogs before dying.

This means that a small flea problem can quickly become a serious issue, as fleas will continue to multiple until they are banished.

Thankfully, there is some good news that comes with a flea diagnosis.

Because these critters are so common, they can be easily treated in most cases.

Flea treatments for dogs can be purchased from your vet’s office, pet stores, and even online with a veterinary prescription.

If you notice fleas on your dog’s skin, it’s important that you act quickly.

You can start by bathing them in an approved dish soap (as this drowns the living fleas on your dog’s skin), treating your home for any current flea infestations, and having your pup on monthly flea prevention going forward.


Ticks are perhaps the second most common bug you will find on your dog.

Ticks are typically larger than fleas, and there are an abundance of species that your dog can encounter during their time outdoors.

These species can range in terms of size and color, but some of them can be black in appearance.

If you find a tick on your dog’s skin, it’s important to properly remove these critters as soon as possible.

Ticks can transmit disease to both dogs and humans, as they have the ability to pass on harmful pathogens with each bite.

Some of the most common tick diseases include Lyme disease, Rocky mountain spotted fever, ehrlichia, and anaplasmosis.

Like fleas, you can remove ticks yourself before going for additional treatment.

Ticks are commonly found under the fur on the dark areas of your dog, such as under their legs or behind their ears.

Tick are best removed using tweezers, as long as you ensure that you have removed the head of the tick as well.

There are also options for topical medication or oral medication for tick prevention going forward.


Just like you and I, our canine companions can get lice.

Dogs cannot be infected with the lice that like to burrow into our hair, but they can become infected with species specific lice that target our canine friends.

These fleas are typically very small, but they can be seen when examining their fur closely.

These critters can be anywhere from tan to dark brown in color, which is why some could mistake them as small fleas.

The lice on your dog’s skin cannot be transmitted to humans, but it does not mean these infestations should be ignored.

Canine lice can cause severe skin irritation to the dog affected, often leading to secondary skin infections as a result.

If you think your canine friend has been infected with lice, we always suggest reaching out to your vet for proper treatment.

While some over the counter shampoos claim to banish these tiny insects, you can never be certain.

Because of this, we always suggest trusting your vet’s guidance.


There are various types of mites that can infest our dog’s fur.

Though most mites cannot be seen with the naked eye, you may still see some evidence of their presence.

Some of the most common skin mites in dogs include demodectic and sarcoptic mange, both of which leave a trail of significant skin irritation in their path.

Though it is impossible to see these mites without microscope, we still feel it’s important to mention when discussing crawling critters of the skin.

If you ever think your pup has been infected with any type of mite, we always suggest reaching out to your vet for further guidance.


As you can see, a flea infestation is not the only issue you should be concerned with when discovering tiny bugs on your dog’s skin.

Insects of all kind can make their way into your dog’s fur, leading to an array of irritating symptoms to follow.

Diligence with flea and tick prevention is essential in keeping our pups critter free, as many of these medications can banish other insects as well.

As long as you follow your vet’s guidance when offering monthly prevention, your pup will have ample protection against these tiny invaders.

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