Eggs in your pup's fur always mean your friend is suffering from a parasite infestation. Doggies are only plagued by a few types of external parasite: fleas, ticks, mites, lice, bot- and blowflies. All lay white or orange eggs, but some debris or adult parasites are easily mistaken for eggs. If you've found something that looks like black eggs in your doggy pal's fur, chances are you're dealing with fleas, canine lice or ticks.
If you notice what look like black eggs in your dog's fur, the initial suspect is the dog or cat flea, both of which can live on dogs. While flea eggs are actually white, they're usually found in a crumbly crust on your pup, along with black-colored flea droppings and dried blood. It's totally gross, but the eggs are mixed in with flea poo because, sad to say, that's what the larval fleas eat when they hatch, before they begin to feast on your poor pooch.
Another likely identity for the black "eggs" on your friend is canine lice. Dog lice are quite small, cling powerfully to skin and hair, and move very ... very ... slowly -- which makes them look a lot like eggs adhered to your pup's fur. The actual eggs are translucent and rather harder to spot than the tiny, oblong adult insects. Adult lice start out translucent and turn dark brown or black as they consume their host's blood.
As ticks feed on your hapless companion, they may be mistaken for eggs. These icky parasites are usually dark gray or black and as they become engorged with their bloody meal, they swell, taking on an egg- or bean-like shape. The legs of an engorged tick are barely visible and you can't see the buried head, which makes it possible for the uninitiated viewer to mistake these nasties for eggs. This is especially true if your poor pet hit a "tick bomb" -- a nest of recently hatched ticks. When this happens, dozens can attach at once, often in the same spot, which looks a lot like a cluster of parasite eggs buried deep in your unfortunate friend's fur.
Ew, Get It Off!
All of these parasites are bad news. In addition to a terrible itch, they can spread other parasites and nasty diseases to your dog and even to you. Some dogs develop hot spots, hair loss and self-mutilating behavior when suffering from parasite infestation. Consult with your vet or an experienced groomer for help identifying and removing your doggy's unwelcome guests. In cases of lice and fleas, you'll have to give everything your pet touches a thorough cleaning as well.
- Dog Breed Info Center: Canine Lice
- Merial: External Parasites
- Pets and Parasites: You, Your Dog & Parasites
- Cats Protection Veterinary Guides: Fleas and Other Parasites
- University of California Davis College of Veterinary Medicine: Parasitic and Mycotic Zoonoses of the Dog
- Park Hill Pooch: Itchy Skin?
Angela Libal began writing professionally in 2005. She has published several books, specializing in zoology and animal husbandry. Libal holds a degree in behavioral science: animal science from Moorpark College, a Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College and is a graduate student in cryptozoology.