As far as your dog’s concerned, the vast majority of parasitic infections are merely irritating. Yet if left untreated, they can lead to serious, sometimes life threatening conditions.
When it comes to parasites in dogs, ignoring the problem will only make things worse, and may end up affecting not just your dog, but your entire family. Some parasites can even transfer diseases to people.
How do dogs catch parasites?
It depends. Dogs can catch fleas, ticks, scabies and ear mites simply through being near other dogs, or by passing through high risk areas when out and about, such as the long grass out in the countryside. Coccidia, giardia, and other internal parasites can develop when dogs eat soil or excrement, or when they drink dirty water.
How to tell if your dog has an infection
The tell-tale signs of an infection will vary depending on the specific type of parasite you’re dealing with. But broadly speaking, you should be on the lookout for any changes in your pets behaviour, fur or skin condition.
It should be obvious when your dog has fleas and ticks, as you’ll notice them scratching, twitching, and rolling on the floor. But certain infections have much more subtle symptoms making them harder to spot. Your dog’s eating habits may change, or they may start drinking more or less water than usual. They may get diarrhoea, lose some of their hair or their skin may become flaky or inflamed.
What to do if you think your dog has a parasitic infection
Most parasitic infections are easily treated by your vet. It’s important to contact your vet if you suspect your pet has a parasitic infection so that they can rule out any of the more serious conditions that can result from certain infestations. It may be that your vet runs a series of blood tests and other procedures to determine the true nature of the infection and prescribe the necessary course of action to take.
But as usual, when it comes to dogs and parasites, prevention is better than a cure. You can significantly reduce the risk of all kinds of parasitic infections simply through keeping your home clean and tidy, washing your dog’s bedding and food bowls frequently, removing any faeces as soon as possible, and pay close attention to what they eat – especially when you’re out and about.
And the sooner you act, the better. Call your vet the moment you notice that something’s amiss. We recommend that dogs of all ages are routinely treated against common parasites as we all know prevention is better than the cure.
Why not join our Pet Health Club. When you join you will have access to preferential rates and discounts on your pets preventable health care.