Common Dog Parasites and Treatments
Dog parasites are the cause of many diseases in puppies and dogs. To keep your pet healthy, learn how to recognize the symptoms as well as how to prevent and treat from parasite infestations.
Did you know that the same parasites can be harmful not only to your dog's health but to you as well?
Humans, especially children, can be easily infected with roundworms, which can cause damage to internal organs and nervous system. That's why it's important that your children wash their hands after playing with any puppy or dog.
Dog parasites can be separated into internal and external. Let's take a look at each type…
External Dog Parasites
External parasites live on your dog's skin and hair.
The most common puppy parasites are…
Fleas are the most common and aggravating external parasites a dog may encounter.
Fleas feed on dog's blood and, when they bite, inject saliva into your pet's skin. That causes itching and allergic reactions. If your pet is not treated properly, your whole household may become infested with fleas.
Visit home remedies for fleas to learn how you can protect your pet from fleas, safely and without spending money on commercial products.
Ticks are almost as common as fleas but are a lot more dangerous to your dog's health.
Just like fleas, ticks feed on blood. They carry a variety of diseases and, if not removed from dog's body, can cause great damage to his health.
Visit dog ticks for more information on ticks and to learn how to protect your pet from these parasites.
Mites are less common than fleas and ticks, especially on dogs that live indoors.
Mites are small parasites that can live anywhere on your dog's body. If left untreated, they will cause skin irritation and sores.
Internal Dog Parasites
Unlike external, internal parasites live inside your dog's body. Just like external parasites, if left untreated, they can cause great damage, and even death, to your pet's health.
Let's take a look at the most common internal dog parasites…
These are very common intestinal parasites, especially in young dogs.
Roundworms are long, round, and resemble spaghetti. They often infest unborn puppies through the placenta or mother's milk.
Common symptoms of roundworms include potbelly, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Tapeworms resemble white grains of rice and you can usually find them on the surface of dog's feces as well as hair under infected dog's anus.
Symptoms include diarrhea and malnourished appearance.
Hookworms feed on dog's blood and can cause anemia. The most common symptom of hookworms is bloody diarrhea.
Very small dog parasites, not visible to a naked eye. Common symptoms of whipworms include watery stool, weight loss, anemia and weakness.
These parasites live inside infected pet's heart and major blood vessels. Their larvae enter a dog's body through the mosquito's bite.
Symptoms of Heartworms include weight loss, cough during exercise, and lethargy. If you don't treat an infected dog in time, he may experience a congestive heart failure.
As far as I know, all Heartworm medications are sold by prescription only.
Treatment And Prevention
Medications, proper sanitation, and grooming are all very important for keeping your pet healthy and parasite-free.
Regular vet visits are even more important. During those visits, a vet will examine your pet for signs of external parasites. He or she will analyze stool samples for any signs of internal parasites. Visit puppy vaccination schedule for more information on vet visits.
There are plenty of over the counter and prescription-only medications that will keep your dog parasite-free. You can buy them either directly from your vet or on-line.
My recommendation is to buy all pet medications and supplements over the Internet – you will save a lot of money. Just be careful who you buy from. A lot of pet (and human) medications sold over the Internet are counterfeit. At best, they are ineffective, at worst, they are dangerous, even deadly.
I buy all medications and vitamins for Bo from 1-800-PetMeds. They are cheap (a lot cheaper than my vet), but the main reason I buy from them is that I know I am getting authentic products. You can also buy medications from PetSmart, but their selection is not as abundant (though they carry a huge variety of other pet products).
Let's take a look at some of the leading…
Flea And Tick Medications
The leading over the counter product to control dog ticks (and flees) is FRONTLINE Plus.
You apply it on a monthly basis by placing the applicator tip through the dog's hair in between the shoulder blades and empty all the contents in that one spot.
Unlike some competing products, Frontline is safe to use on puppies as young as 8 weeks (majority of products are not recommended to use on puppies younger than 12 weeks).
Oh, almost forgot to mention! Research shows that FRONTLINE Plus kills 100% of dog ticks within 48 hours of application. And it works even after you give your dog a bath!
If your need to eliminate ticks or fleas even quicker, I recommend FRONTLINE Spray.
It begins working immediately and kills most of ticks and flees in less than 24 hours after application.
Visit removing ticks page to read more about FRONTLINE Spray.
Intestinal Dog Parasites
The most effective medications to treat from intestinal dog parasites are sold by prescription. But there are some over-the-counter products you can use to treat minor infestations and to prevent future worm infestations.
Worm Protector 2X Double Strength Liquid Wormer is an over the counter product used for removal of large roundworms and hookworms in dogs and puppies.
It may also be used to prevent re-infestation of roundworms in puppies and adult dogs.
Worm Protector comes in liquid form and can be given directly to your pet or mixed with food.
WormXPlus is a pork liver flavored chewable tablet de-wormer that's effective against roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms.
I tried several brands on Bo, but he seems to like how these taste. OK, maybe it's a stretch! Tolerate is a better word.
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Want to learn more?
As a dog owner, you are responsible for your puppy's health. A good source for dog health information, including puppy care and preventive medicine, how to protect your pet from worms and ticks, dog food, and how to recognize if your pet needs immediate medical attention, is the Ultimate Guide to Dog Health.
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I hope you will find this information useful and it helps you to recognize some common dog health problems your pet may be experiencing. However, if you suspect your pet is ill, immediately contact your veterinarian. He or she will be able to help you decide the best course of action when it comes to caring for your pet.