Intestinal parasites are very common in dogs. In fact, they affect almost 34% of shelter dogs in the U.S. These parasites live in the host’s gastrointestinal tract and are found in contaminated areas. There are various types of parasites including whipworms, tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms, and protozoa. However, hookworms, whipworms, and roundworms are the most commonly found worms in a dog’s intestine. These parasites are commonly found in different areas throughout the U.S., but hookworms are prevalent in the south and southeastern United States. Roundworms, on the other hand, are found in the Northeast and Midwest, and whipworm is commonly found in the Midwest and West.
Which Dogs get Intestinal Parasites?
Intestinal parasites are mostly found in shelter dogs that live in an unhealthy environment or have been exposed to contamination. Dogs that live in homes, on the other hand, have a lower chance of getting infected with these worms as they receive routine care and supervision by their owners. However, these parasites still affect almost 12% of pet dogs.
What guard dog owners don’t realize is that just like fleas and ticks vaccinations, they need to keep their dogs protected from intestinal worms. Your protection dog can get intestinal parasites if it ingests contaminated soil, water, sand, food, or feces. Infected areas often contain parasite eggs or spores. If these are ingested, they may grow into worms that can be lethal to your pet’s health. Even the unborn puppies in their mother’s uterus can get these worms if their mother ingests a polluted substance.
How to Protect Your Family Protection Dog From Intestinal Parasites
Just like the way you take your dog for regular vet visits for vaccination, get it checked for intestinal worms as well. Take at the tips below to keep your dog protected from these ugly and life threatening parasites.
Be Extra Cautious During Hot Months
Although intestinal parasites can make their place in your dog’s stomach anytime of the year, they are most common during the hot months of the year. Because every dog needs to cool down during the summer season, they tend to spend more time on the beach or by the pool. This outdoor routine poses a great threat to the dog, making summer months the most vulnerable for dogs.
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Get your Dog’s Fecal Sample Screened by the Vet
Even when your dog has parasites in its intestines, it doesn’t necessarily show any symptoms. Sometimes intestinal parasites are asymptomatic, which means that the symptoms might not be visible in the host. Hence, it is extremely important for dog owners to get their dog’s feces screened at least one a year to rule out any chances of these deadly worms. Many animal associations, including Companion Animal Parasite Council and American Animal Hospital Association, recommend every dog owner to get their pet’s feces tested one or two times a year. Puppies are required to get tested three to four times in the first year of their lives.
The pet dogs that are not tested and examined require being dewormed. Sometimes, dogs also show symptoms that can tell their owners that they have been infested. These symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. If you notice any one of these symptoms in your dog, it is best to head to the vet and find out about the cause.
Keep Your Dog in a Clean Environment
The best thing that you can do to protect your pet companion is to give it a clean and tidy environment to live in. Any type of dirt or contamination can easily make your dog get these worms. Most of these worms are zoonotic and can be transferred from one pet to another – even to humans. Therefore, you need to make sure that you take extra care when your pet defecates in the house or the soil.
The larvae of these parasites can easily get into anyone’s intestine if they are swallowed. These parasite eggs can also transfer to humans and other animals if they come in contact with contaminated soil or sand where the pet has defecated. Clean and disinfect any area where your pet has eliminated immediately.
Make Use of FDA Approved Parasite Control Products
If you really don’t want your pet to suffer from this parasitic infection, make sure you visit the vet on a regular basis. Getting your protective dog checked for parasites at least once a year will help save it from heartworm disease, fleas, ticks, and other dangerous diseases. Your vet will also tell you about the many FDA approved products that are especially manufactured for parasite control in dogs. So talk to your vet and keep your dog protected from these parasites.
Intestinal parasites can cause an array of illnesses and health problems in your pet companion. Do your part and protect them from their harmful effects.