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Common Parasites in Dogs

Dog Scratching FleasEvery now and again dogs and puppies can be susceptible to parasites, which can be easily picked up from being out on a walk. Whether the parasites are living in soil, water, faeces or dropped food, dogs usually explore with their noses and tongues, so ingesting or contracting certain parasites can be easier than you think.

The best thing to do is be prepared for your dog contracting the most common parasites, and have a general knowledge of a few of them so you can identify them easily. Some of course, are not very easy to identify so if parasites become an ongoing issue for your dog or puppy, its always best to take them in to see the vet.

Worms

The difficult thing with worms is that your dog doesn’t always show clear signs of having them, as there are many different types that can affect your dog in different ways. The best thing to do in general is watch for any dramatic changes in appetite, mood, breathing and coat condition. The following types of worms can affect your dog:

  • Ringworm – creates a lesion on the skin exactly like it does in humans
  • Heartworms – lives in the blood vessels, making the dog extremely ill
  • Hookworms – intestinal parasites that cause digestive discomfort
  • Tapeworms – another intestinal irritant that grows in segments

It is important to worm puppies from an early age using worming tablets to ensure these common worms aren’t contracted, as they can lead very quickly to illness. Contact your vet if you’re unsure of how to worm your dog.

Fleas

Unlike the previous parasite, fleas are a lot more obvious when your dog has contracted them, given that they are likely to itch a lot more than usual. With certain short-haired breeds you may even be able to see the fleas on the skin. Look out for redness on the skin or in the ears and general scratching.

They are contracted generally from other dogs or animals that have rubbed up against your dog, and they can easily jump across and start breeding in no time at all.

If you’re having issues getting rid of fleas, then speak to your vet for further advice.

Ticks

Unfortunately for your dog, Ticks can be fairly common, contracted from soil, water or faeces when out on a walk. They attach themselves to your dog’s skin and remain attached until pulled out, consuming blood and spreading disease.

It can be very difficult to prevent ticks, given that you can pick them up very easily when out on a walk. The best thing to do is wash your dog regularly and pay attention to any bumps or lesions on the skin. You can remove individual ticks yourself using a pair of tweezers, but you need to be careful to remove the entire tick. Anything left inside the skin could lead to further infection. If you’re unsure or need further advice, speak to your vet immediately.

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