A closer look a dog fleas, worms, and ticks with our Vet Darren
January 27, 2022
In this article, Veterinary Surgeon Darren Partridge, invites Surrey dog owners to take a closer look at common dog parasites as we head into spring. Before we dig in, we recommend downloading our handy parasites guide, which highlights the common signs to look out for on your dog.
Fleas will make your dog feel itchy, sore, and uncomfortable, and pose a serious health risk:
- Fleas can lay up to 50 eggs per day on dogs and other pets, many fall off into your home
- Adult fleas can also survive in your home for up to a year
- Fleas are common in the environment and can be easily picked up in the garden, on walks, and from other pets carrying them
- A flea infestation can lead to anaemia (due to the volume of blood they consume) – this can be fatal, especially in puppies or unwell dogs
- Fleas are small, black/brown in colour, and swell after feasting on blood.
To help you spot the tell-tale signs of fleas, get Darren’s dog parasite guide here.
How to prevent and treat fleas on dogs
The only way to avoid pets getting fleas is to treat them regularly (usually every month) with vet-recommended, preventative flea treatments for dogs, or cats if you have them. You should never share flea treatments between pet species as some ingredients may harm them. One-off treatments might remove existing fleas but won’t protect your pets going forward, neither will many over-the-counter products. If your dog does get fleas, you will need to treat them, your home, and other pets.
Some worms can have devastating consequences for your dog, and some can be passed to humans:
- Roundworms: higher risk to younger dogs – can be passed to humans
- Tapeworms: exposure risk is higher in dogs who scavenge for food and those with fleas – children at risk of contracting tapeworms from infected animal faeces
- Hookworm & whipworm: like tapeworms, these are common intestinal worms that can cause health complications
- Lungworm: often fatal, picked up from the slime of infected slugs and snails – increased risk if dog toys and food/water bowls are left out overnight
- Heartworm: dogs travelling abroad can be at risk
Could my dog have worms? Learn the tell-tale signs of dog worms in our parasite guide.
How to prevent worms in dogs
To give ongoing protection, they will need a vet-recommended dog worming treatment every 1-6 months, depending on your Vet’s guidance. Due to the serious health complications from worms, Darren stresses the importance of preventative treatments.
Although most prevalent in spring & summer, ticks can be problematic all year in some areas:
- Ticks mostly live in woodland, long grasses, and fields where livestock or deer graze
- Ticks latch on by inserting their mouthparts into the skin to suck blood
- Ticks are usually small, oval, and flat in appearance, about the size of a sesame seed
- They can swell to the size of a coffee bean after a feast of blood
- A tick bite can cause irritation, anaemia, and temporary paralysis in rare cases
- Ticks can spread Lyme disease, which affects humans too and can lead to a serious, debilitating chronic illness with complications for life
Tick prevention & safe removal
With Bushy Park in this area, it is important to protect against ticks. Therefore, Darren recommends talking to our veterinary team about tick prevention products and advises dog owners to check for small lumps on their dog’s skin (and their own) after walks.
It is important to remove ticks straight away using a special tick removal tool in a twist and pull motion. Never pull a tick straight out or using tweezers as the head could be left behind, increasing the risk of disease transmission. Ask our team about tick removal tools.
To help you spot the signs of tick bites in dogs as well as worms and fleas, download our guide here:
If you found our article on dog parasites useful, why not share it with your dog-owning friends and family by email, WhatsApp, messenger or on Facebook?