Pet Parasites Prevention
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Preventing Parasites from Invading Cats and Dogs
Pet parasites are essentially any other living organism that’s using your dog or cat as a source of food. There are basically two types of parasites: internal and external. Worms are mainly internal parasites while ticks and fleas are external – but both can be dangerous, if not deadly, to your dog. Fortunately, there are ways you can keep your pet parasite free.
Cat and Dog Parasite Symptoms
First of all: how do you know that your dog or cat has parasites? There are some very obvious signs of parasite infestation, while others are a little harder to find.
Signs and symptoms of internal parasites depend largely on the type of worm that’s living in your pet. For the most part however, the symptoms of cat and dog worms are:
- Weight loss
- Dry hair
- Poor appearance
- Loss of energy
- Vomiting, sometimes containing worms in the vomit
Ticks and fleas are easy enough to catch. Just by parting your dog’s fur, you can see fleas or ticks running around. In many cases, these fleas leave black grains in your dog’s fur even if you don’t see the fleas themselves. This kind of parasite can appear on cats and dogs as soon as they’re born. Other symptoms include:
- Frequent scratching of the pet
- Black grains on the fur
- Loss of fur
- Bald patches and red skin
- Black grains in the ears
Cat and Dog Parasites
Once you’ve determined the presence of parasites in dogs and cats, it’s time to find out exactly what they are. The fact is that not all parasites will appear on your pet. Others have a likelier chance due to the fact that they’re more common in your area.
The dog parasite coccidia is more common in puppies than in adult dogs. They can also infect cats and are transmitted through soil ingestion where dog/cat feces are nearby. Note though that dog coccidia cannot affect cats or vice versa. Health wise, coccidia doesn’t really have a huge impact in adult dogs. In puppies however, the condition can be quite deadly, thus requiring routine deworming treatment.
The dog parasite giardia can also be passed on to people and thus requires stringent prevention. The condition itself is contracted by ingesting soil with feces that contain the parasite. Often asymptomatic during the early stages, symptoms of the condition include fatigue, vomiting, watery diarrhea, nausea, and weight loss. While the parasite can be treated in humans, there is no solid technique used in order to cure the problem with dogs.
Heartworms are easier to prevent rather than treat – which is why it’s important to administer preventive treatment as early as 6 weeks of age. Unlike other worms, heartworms live in the heart and therefore not easily treated through over the counter medication. Blood testing combined with x-rays are also the best way to treat the problem. A pet with heartworm is asymptomatic, which means that no symptoms can be seen until the heartworm has multiplied. The risk of having this condition increases for outdoor pets.
Roundworms in dogs are easily treatable but are also quite common. All dogs and cats get roundworms at some point in their life, but routine deworming can expel them quickly and efficiently. This type of parasite is asymptomatic, unless their population becomes extensive; in which case, pets might show signs of diarrhea. Roundworms can be passed on from the mom dog to the puppy dog – which is why deworming medication is administered as early as 2 weeks after birth. Unlike the other parasites mentioned in the article, roundworms can affect people.
Ticks are different from fleas in that they are bigger and slower moving. They can’t jump – making it easier to catch them. However, this doesn’t mean they don’t pose any risks. Ticks can be carriers of Lyme disease which can affect both humans and dogs – hence, the need to get rid of them from your cat, dog, and house. Since ticks tend to multiply in large numbers, it’s important to administer continuous treatment as a preventive measure.
Fleas and Mites
Like ticks, fleas and mites can multiply quickly and are so small it’s tough to really catch them all. They can live without a host for a certain period of time, thus requiring pet owners to clean not just their pet but also their household where fleas and ticks may reside. Typically, tick treatments also work for fleas and vice versa.
Deworming Your Pet
Deworming cats and dogs is the first line of defense against internal parasites. This is administered as early as 2 weeks after birth and continued on a bi-weekly basis until the puppy reaches 6 weeks of age. Afterwards, deworming can be administered every few months or so, depending on your pet’s habits. For example, outdoor dogs that love to play on soil and carry stuff around in their mouth may require more frequent deworming. The same rule applies to cats.
Flea and Tick Treatment
Fleas and ticks are more common, and therefore require continuous treatment, especially during the summer months. Giving your dog frequent baths using a flea and tick shampoo is often the first line of defense for pet owners. The use of flea powder and flea collar are also popular options – especially for cat owners.
Those who prefer long-term solutions may use drops that can prevent flea and tick infestation for 30 days. After 30 days, the drops are reapplied for continuous protection. Oral medication providing the same results is also available.
Cat and Dog Parasite Cleanse
It’s never a good idea to wait for symptoms of parasites in dogs before administering any sort of treatment. Ideally, puppy worms and cat parasite are treated early and on a routine basis – even if the pooch appears healthy. The infancy stage of parasites is the best time to administer treatment since this is when they are at their weakest.
If you managed to rescue a pet however, chances are you’ll need to do a full cleanse to ensure that he doesn’t carry any parasites. The same is advisable for pet owners who give their dogs free range outdoors, either in the yard, in the pet park or even during hikes. Fortunately, a cleanse involves natural dog parasite treatment.
Here’s the typical cleanse treatment for a 10 pound pet.
During the first week, administer 1 teaspoon of parsley water to your dog. You can offer this through their food or use a syringe for direct intake. Parsley water is prepared by simmering a bunch in 4 cups of water. Give the parsley water daily.
During the second week, you’ll administer parsley water daily, but include a drop of black walnut hull tincture in the mix. Opt for a regular strength black walnut.
During the third week, you’ll still be using the black walnut and parsley water, but this time adding 1 pinch of wormwood. The wormwood can be purchased in a 200 to 300 mg capsule. Just open the capsule and add a pinch of the powder in your dog or cat’s food.
On the fourth week, use all the other methods given in the last 3 weeks but add a pinch of clove capsules in the mix. The same with wormwood, you can purchase a capsule of cloves, open it up and pinch some powder to sprinkle on your dog’s good.
For maintenance purposes, administer the fourth week treatment on a daily basis.
The same will work to remove cat parasite. Note though that when it comes to black walnut, cats should only get this twice a week. Remember that this cleanse is for a 10-pound pet. Hence, if you have a 20 pound dog, you should administer twice as much in dosage.
If you have more than 1 dog or cat, or perhaps a mixture of pets – it’s usually a good idea to treat them for parasites all at once. This is especially true for treating fleas and ticks. This is because if just one dog is treated, the tendency is for the flea to simply switch hosts and then switch back again when it’s safe.
Dog and cat owners are also advised to clean up their dog’s feces as soon as possible. This will limit the chances of any parasite spreading in the area.
For families with children, it becomes doubly important to ensure that your dogs are parasite free. Ideally, deworming should be done every month. Flea treatment may be used as often as possible, depending on the kind of treatment you’re using.
Finally, if you are unsure about the symptoms you observe in your pet, or if you are in doubt as to which parasite treatment is best, seek the help of a vet. This way, you can be sure that proper diagnosis can be made, and the right parasite treatment would be prescribed.
Worms in Cats and Dogs: Conclusion
To wrap it up, fleas, ticks, and worms in dogs and cats should be addressed even before you see any symptoms of their presence. This is not just for your pet’s own health but also for yours – especially since ticks and fleas have no problem drawing blood from humans, as well as dogs. With proper hygiene, brushing, and use of preventive medicine – your dog should be free of any parasite that can cause health problems.
By addressing parasite issues, you and your pet should live a longer and more enjoyable life!