Tag Archives: ticks

Common Dog Parasites

Prevent parasites in dogs

In this post, we list the five most common parasites that infect dogs and how you can protect your dog from worms, ticks, and others. 

Unfortunately for your dog, there are several common parasites that can infect your best friend. All dogs can become infected, and sometimes these parasites can even be transmitted to humans.Any dog can get parasites, and some can be transmitted to humans. 

Any dog can contract parasites, and some of these can be transmitted to humans. There are treatments available for all these, but preventing your dog from becoming infected in the first place is always the best option. 

Most Common Dog Parasites

  • Fleas
  • Ticks
  • Heartworms
  • Intestinal Worms
  • Mites

flea parasite in dogsFleas

Fleas are tiny, hard-bodied, flightless insects that are external parasites of mammals and birds. Their source of food is consuming the blood of the host they have attached to. It has strong legs which allow it to jump up to a foot or more.

Flea infestations can be a hassle to deal with for both you and your dog. They can also cause a variety of problems including Flea Allergic Dermatitis, anemia, and tapeworm infection.

Prevention is your best option. You can use a variety of oral flea treatments, topical treatments, shampoos, washes, sprays, and flea collars to protect your dog from fleas. These should especially be used during the warm summer months here in northern Illinois.

tick parasite in dogsTicks

Ticks are tiny arachnids and relatives of both mites and spiders. Like fleas, they live on the blood of birds and mammals, including dogs and cats.

Ticks will jump onto your dog (or you!) and attach its jaw into the skin and suck blood until the tick has eaten all it possibly can. They can carry many diseases, including Lyme Disease.

Ticks will usually live in tall grasses and wooded areas. You can use products to prevent ticks from attaching to your dog, but during summer months you should check your dog regularly for ticks, especially after spending time in wooded or tall grassy areas.

Related Post: Ticks and Dogs

Heartworms

The dog heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that can spread to your dog through the bite of a mosquito.

It is one of the most dangerous parasites that can infect your dog. It can even lead to death if untreated. Even the treatments to rid your dog of heartworms is bad for your dog’s health.

To prevent heartworms, it is best to give your dog a monthly heartworm prevention. If you have not given your dog a heartworm preventer in months, you should have your dog tested by your veterinarian.

Related Post: Protect Your Dog from Mosquitos

Intestinal Worms

Intestinal worms that your dog can pick up from the outdoors include roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms.

Tapeworms can be contracted from fleas; the rest can infect your dog from contaminated soil or infected animals, such as mice or other animals. Some of these can also be transferred to humans.

Protecting your dog from fleas will help protect him or her from tapeworms. Regular veterinary checkups are the best way from preventing serious intestinal worm problems.

parasite mites in dogs Mites

There are two types of mites that can affect dogs: Demodex and Sarcoptic (also known as scabies). Mites can live in small numbers on your dog without causing problems. Higher numbers can cause itching, hair loss, and scabs.

Scabies is highly contagious to other dogs and also to humans. It is most often spread through direct contact with other infected dogs or mammals. It can be difficult to prevent because you won’t know when you come in contact with an infected animal.

Treatment can require both oral medication and medicated baths. If you believe your dog may be infected because your dog is showing intense scratching, then you should visit your veterinarian right away.

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Ticks & Dogs

Summer has arrived and so have the ticks. Ticks are most active in the warm, summer months. They are typically found in heavily wooded areas, and are found in many places in Illinois, including the suburbs of Chicago. Much like humans, dogs are susceptible to tick-borne diseases and tick bites. Ticks can transmit many diseases and infections through their parasitic bite. Ticks are commonly known as transmitters of Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and other diseases.

Tick bites can be difficult to detect on pets. Tick-borne diseases can take one to three weeks to show symptoms, though not all ticks transmit diseases. Symptoms of a tick-transmitted infection include fever, lethargy, and weakness.  If left untreated, these diseases can cause serious problems. Lyme disease, for example, can cause inflammation and joint pain, kidney problems, and difficulty breathing. If you suspect a pet has a tick-borne infection, seek medical care as soon as possible.

To prevent tick born infections, carefully examine your pets when after they’re outside, especially in wooded areas. Make sure to finger comb through their fur to feel for any attached ticks. In addition to careful inspection, there are many medicine or formula based preventative solutions.

Oral medications to prevent and kill ticks can be obtained from your veterinarian, and are easy to use. A common solution is a tick collar, though it is most useful for the head and neck area. There are numerous types of shampoos, powders, dips, and sprays that are preventative but can be a bit trickier to use effectively. Most of these solutions have to be applied or used regularly or monthly for optimal results.

Lastly, make your yard less tick-friendly by keeping the lawn mowed, dense wood maintained, and free from woodpiles. Using one of these options doesn’t mean that you’re in the clear and should skimp on fur examinations. It’s important to check your pets continuously.

If you discover a tick on your dog, be sure to remove the tick immediately. To remove a tick, use a pair of tweezers to grab the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull backwards without twisting or crushing the tick’s body. Be sure to examine the area to make sure the head is removed and not lodged in the animal’s skin. After removal, wash your hands and your dog thoroughly. Clean the dog’s bite with an antiseptic to prevent infection. After sustaining a tick bite, your dog may experience itchy skin. Sooth this area with a topical cream or use a cold compress.

Tick bites on dogs can be scary for pet owners. With careful prevention, monitoring, and treatment your pet should be able to happily frolic outside with minimal fear of ticks.