The thought of parasites is enough to make most people’s skin crawl. But, pet parasites range from fleas to ticks, and various worms. Research suggests that 34% of all dogs in the United States have some form of the internal parasite.
Not only this, roundworms and hookworms are present across the entirety of the U.S. And, to top it off, Toxocara larva migrans affect 3 to 6 million people each year across the country. Yes, that’s right, PEOPLE!Aside from getting the odd itch from a flea, your family pet could fall victim to debilitating and life-threatening illnesses.
With this in mind, here are nine ways you can protect your furry friend from parasites.
1. Consult your Vet
The key to keeping your family pet safe is staying informed. You should talk to your vet about the potential parasite risks in your area. In some parts of the U.S., certain parasites are low risk. In others, your pet may need year-round protection.
Your veterinarian has the knowledge to tell you which parasites to look out for. He or she can also tell you about some of the symptoms associated with each. Additionally, you can learn about how they are transmitted and get help choosing the right preventative products.
2. Ask Your Vet to Examine Your Pet’s Stool
Every year, your vet will ask to check your pet’s feces. From this stool sample, your vet will be able to tell you if there are any signs of intestinal parasites.
Your vet will tell you which parasites are present so that you can get the right medication for your furry friend.
Some pets need more regular examinations. This could be because of another disease that makes them more susceptible to infection. It could also be because of the area you live in.
3. Give Your Family Pet Preventative Medication
There are now a variety of preventative medications that are easy to administer at home. You can also buy topical solutions that help fight against fleas and ticks. While these products can help reduce the chances of parasites, they do not protect your family pet against all of them. Ask your vet about which products are best. You should also ask how often you should use these products.
Also, the best manufacturers often share helpful info about their solutions and how they work.
4. Look Out for Signs of Parasites
External parasites are much easier to identify than internal ones. These often come in the form of fleas and ticks. External parasites will make your family pet scratch and chew at their skin. They can also cause red bumps and hair loss.
Internal parasites can cause the following symptoms:
- Obstruction of the intestines
- Weight loss
- Poor appearance
Unfortunately, these symptoms can appear because of other illnesses as well. They do not necessarily only appear when a pet has parasites.
Not only this, internal parasites aren’t always in the stool. Adult heartworms live in the blood. Other larvae and eggs stick to the intestinal wall. These are some of the key reasons you should get your pet checked on a regular basis.
5. Give Your Pet a Flea and Tick Collar
If you can see fleas or ticks on your family pet, be sure to buy a flea and tick collar. You can also use these as a preventative measure. Collars only repel ticks and fleas from the neck and head area. This is because the chemicals on the collar need to make contact with the fur to take effect.
If you use this preventative measure, make sure that there are two fingers worth of space between the collar and your pet’s skin.
Also, cut any excess collar off so that your pet doesn’t chew on it. Watch out for any discomfort as some pets are allergic to the chemicals on the collar.
6. Use Medicated Shampoo to Clean Your Pet
Keeping your pet clean can make a huge difference to their health. But, there are also medicated shampoos that repel parasites. These are especially effective against fleas and ticks. Medicated shampoo is affordable and can help prevent tick-related diseases such as Lymes Disease. You should wash your family pet with medicated shampoo more often during tick season.
7. Restrict Access to Potentially Contaminated Areas
Hookworms live in soil. Other parasites live in grass. With this in mind, you should learn about where the most common parasites in your area live. You should then avoid these spaces to reduce the chances of contamination.
Also, make yourself aware of how your family pet can become infected. For example, hookworms get into animals through the skin and feet. Your pet may also swallow a parasite while grooming.
8. Feed Your Pet Well Prepared Food
Many parasites live in raw meats and bacteria heavy foods. As a result, you should feed your family pet well prepared and cooked food.
You can also feed it pet food. This is a safe bet from a hygiene standpoint. Also, manufacturers are producing thousands of different types of pet food each year. If you have a particularly picky pet, you can try various flavors until you find one it likes.
9. Clean Up Your Pet’s Living Area
One of the easiest ways to keep your pet from harm’s way is to clean its living spaces. From your garden to their kennels and indoor bed, everything should be clean. Dogs are known for eating feces. Unfortunately, intestinal parasites are shed in feces. With this in mind, keep your garden and litter box litter free. This is especially true if you have more than one pet.
Additionally, remember to protect your hands when cleaning up your pet’s feces. You should also wash your hands straight away to avoid contaminating yourself and your family.
Lastly, give your pets clean drinking water. Try and stop them from drinking from puddles, ponds, and lakes.
Keep Your Pet and Family Safe All Year Round
There are thousands of benefits to having a family pet. It’s therefore essential that you look after them as well as possible.
Pets contribute to the energy in your household. They quickly become indispensable members of your family.
To keep your family safe and healthy all-year-round, learn more home keeping tips at Picklee today.