Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Parasites That Love Your Dog

Parasites That Love Your Dog
By: Lee Dobbins

Your dog might not love them, but there are many common parasites that love your dog. If your dog is not properly cared for he can become infested with any of these pests and develop illness or life threatening disease.

Luckily, there are many ways to ward off and get rid of parasites which are as simple as taking pills or using drops. With proper care and prevention, your dog will be generally free and safe from parasites and diseases but if you do notice your dog acting strangly, not eating or scratching too much, it's best to get him to the vet right away.

Some common parasites that can take up residence on your dog include:

Ticks
We all know fido gets fleas and ticks in the summer, but ticks can pose more serious problems than due to diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Lyme disease. You should check your dog for ticks religiously especially if he spends a lot of time outdoors. Tweezers can be used to remove ticks one by one. If you do not know how to remove ticks properly and carefully, ask your vet first. If you do know how, put them in a can with soap and water after removal.

Fleas
These are the most common external parasites and can cause the dog to continuously scratch various parts of the body. It may get so bad that your dog loses fur in the infested areas. Ask your veterinarian to put your pet on a good flea-control program and be aware that fleas could become resistant to some products over time.

Lice
Lice is less common than fleas but can affect dogs. Your vet will have several treatments that can easily get rid of lice in dogs.

Heartworm
Caused by mosquito bites, heartworm resides in your dogs heart and blood vessels. A dog infected by heartworms looks dull and may even have a chronic cough. There are many heartworm medications that can prevent your dog from developing this disease - ask your vet which one is best for your pet.

Hookworm
Hookworms can cause anemia an loss of appetite and can be given by the mother dog to a puppy during the nursing period or even before birth.

Tapeworm
A dog can get tapeworm from swallowing larvae-laden fleas. There are not many symptoms with tapeworm but you might see rice-like pieces in your dogs stools. This is one good reason to always bring a stool sample to your vet when you bring your pet in for a yearly checkup.

Roundworm
Roundworms cause pneumonia, diarrhea, dehydration, stunted growth, and vomiting. A dog with roundworm may have a pot belly.

Whipworm
A dog infected with whipworms may have diarrhea and other ailments like, stool mucus, and serious bowel inflammation. Extreme weight loss is also a symptom caused by whipworms.

Although our dog can attract any of these parasites, most of them can be easily taken care of. Proper care and maintenance and routine visits to the vet will help keep your dog happy, healthy and parasite free.

Author Bio
Lee Dobbins writes for Epet Pet Center where you can find more on how to keep your pet healthy and happy.
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