If you’re the proud parent of a dog, you already know that having a little buddy around makes your life better. Puppies are cute, entertaining, and never fail to brighten our moods. They also have parasites. Lots of them! Not all puppies have parasites—some breeds are more prone to them than others—but it’s smart to be aware of what parasites a puppy can get, especially if you live in an area where certain ones are common.
Fleas are the most common parasite to affect dogs.
Fleas are the most common parasite to affect dogs. They’re tiny, wingless insects that live on dogs, cats, and humans. They can cause anemia, skin irritation, and allergic reactions in your dog. Fleas can also transmit diseases such as plague and typhus.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog: scratching or biting excessively; licking at his or her skin; hair loss around the tail base or hind legs; redness or inflammation of the skin; small scabs on their skin—it’s likely that he or she has fleas (and possibly other parasites).
Ticks are common in spring, summer, and fall.
Ticks are the most common parasite in the United States, and they’re most commonly found in spring, summer, and fall. Although ticks can attach themselves to dogs at any time of year, their numbers peak during warmer months when they have more access to your pet.
Ticks are tiny—about 1/8 inch in diameter—so it’s easy to miss them when they crawl onto your dog’s haircoat or skin. And while they can be found anywhere on your pooch (such as behind the ears), you’re more likely to see them on their necks and backs because these areas tend to have less fur coverage than other parts of the body such as paws and bellies respectively.
Ear mites can be asymptomatic or cause discomfort.
Ear mites are a tiny parasite that lives in the ear canal. They cause irritation and scratching of the ears, which can lead to anemia if left untreated. When there is a problem with a puppy’s ear health, it’s important for his parents to be checked as well. These parasites are not contagious from one dog to another; however, you should check all dogs in your household because they may carry them without being aware of it or showing symptoms themselves.
The best way to determine whether or not your puppy has ear mites is by conducting an inspection of their ears with a flashlight and magnifying glass. You can also use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol on your pup’s inner ear canal: If there’s debris on the swab after you’ve gently cleaned away any wax buildup, you’ll probably find live mites underneath.
Heartworm is a parasite transmitted by mosquitoes.
Heartworm is a serious condition that can be fatal if your dog does not receive treatment. Heartworm is caused by a parasite called Dirofilaria immitis, which affects the heart and lungs of dogs. Once inside your dog’s body, the larvae mature into adult worms within six to eight months. These worms travel through the bloodstream and lodge in the right side of the heart where they grow very large (up to 12 inches long) and cause severe damage over time as well as fluid buildup in the lungs due to blockage of blood circulation by these parasites.
Although you will want to prevent heartworm disease from happening at all costs, there are some things that can be done before we even discuss prevention:
- Keep your pet indoors during mosquito season (April through October)
- Have him wear an insect repellent collar on his neck
- Use flea control products on him once every month
To prevent parasites, it’s important to talk to a vet about the right treatments for your puppy.
While it’s important to treat your puppy for parasites, prevention is the best way to keep your pup parasite-free. Prevention measures include keeping your yard clean and removing any piles of leaves or dead grass. If you have an outdoor pet, make sure that they have access to fresh water at all times and brush them regularly with a flea comb.
If you notice any signs that your dog may have fleas or ticks, contact your veterinarian right away! The vet will be able to advise you on the best treatment options for your puppy—and most importantly, help prevent future infestations from occurring on your dog!