Every dog owner is faced with one or more type of parasite at some point in their pets’ lives. It’s more common for puppies to succumb to some parasitic infections, but dogs of any age can become infected. With the warmer weather coming and more outings for our pets, it’s important to keep in mind the type of parasites they might encounter.
Please note – if you have a queasy stomach, some of these photos might bother you.
#1 – Fleas
Fleas are nasty little blood-sucking creatures that find dogs of any age delicious. Without some sort of flea control, whether it’s on your dog or in your yard, fleas can and will infest your property and your pets.
#2 – Ticks
We hate these terrible little devils! Not only are these blood-feasting creatures just nasty, they can spread deadly diseases to both humans and animals. Be sure to always check yourself and your dogs after any outdoor activity to make sure one or more of these buggers isn’t hitching a ride home.
#3 – Giardia
Giardia is a protozoan – a single-cell organism – that affects dogs of all ages, although puppies may be more susceptible. It causes terrible diarrhea and sometimes vomiting, and is picked up from drinking infested water or consuming fecal matter of an infected animal.
#4 – Roundworms
Worms worms worms. There are a number of different types of worms our dogs can get, and roundworms are one of them. Roundworms are intestinal parasites that can grow up to 7 inches long! It is very common for puppies to get roundworms from their mothers in utero or by ingesting infected milk. Adult dogs can become infected by eating soil with roundworms or roundworm eggs, and even by eating an animal (such as a rabbit or mouse) that is infected.
#5 – Hookworms
Hookworms are one of the most common intestinal parasites found in our dogs. These worms attach to the intestines and suck blood from their hosts – causing black, bloody diarrhea.
#6 – Tapeworms
Tapeworms can grow very large, and are an intestinal parasite that dogs get by eating fleas. White, segment looking worms may be found in the stool of an infected pet, and it’s important to remember that it’s nearly pointless to treat for tapeworms without also making sure that the fleas are being removed.
Whipworms are yet another intestinal parasite that causes terrible diarrhea in our dogs. It’s relatively easy to treat given the variety of medications available, but environmental control is key. Whipworm eggs can live in the environment for up to five years.
#8 – Heartworms
Heartworms are a terrible parasite that infect many dogs around the country. It’s one of the reasons heartworm preventative drugs are so readily available. These are worms that do, in fact, take over the dog’s heart. Heartworms are spread by mosquitos who transmit them simply by biting their hosts.
#9 – Sarcoptic Mange – Scabies
Scabies are mites that cause a certain type of mange in dogs. They are transmitted mostly by direct contact but can also be picked up by shared grooming equipment or kennel space. Scabies causes severe itching and hair loss.
#10 – Demodectic Mange – Demodex
Demodex is another type of mite found on our dogs. While it’s not usually as severe as Scabies, Demodex will also cause a lot of itching and hair loss. Generally speaking, many healthy dogs have some Demodex mites living on them. It’s only when they have environment or physical stresses that reduce the immune system that they have symptomatic infestations.