A parasite is an organism living on or inside another organism called the host. The parasite primarily depends on the host to survive, sucking and eating the food its host consumes. If left ignored, parasites might cause various illnesses in the host.
Much like humans, puppies may also suffer from parasitic infestation. There are two types of parasites in dogs: external and internal.
External parasites are those that live on the surface of the body of a dog. These include fleas, ticks, ear mites, lice, and scabies. Consult your local veterinary clinic to get rid of these fleas and ticks as soon as possible.
On the hand, internal parasites are those that live inside the body of a puppy. These include hookworms, tapeworms, heartworms, and roundworms. Note that these parasites cause very serious complications and must be addressed by a veterinarian immediately.
So, is there any way to prevent these parasites from wreaking havoc on your puppy? Yes, there are plenty of ways to keep your pup free from parasites. Continue reading this post to learn more.
What Are The Symptoms Of Parasites In Dogs
Knowing the symptoms of parasites is crucial to your role as a fur parent. Doing so will allow you to prevent more serious complications, including death. So, what are these symptoms anyway?
The symptoms of parasites may vary depending on the type of parasite, external or internal. If the following symptoms are present, there might be external parasites living on the body of your dog or puppy:
- Excessive chewing and scratching;
- Skin redness and inflammation;
- Excessive hair loss;
- Skin discoloration or crusting;
- Coat dryness;
- Presence of flea or flea dirt;
- Presence of black debris in the ears; and so on.
Meanwhile, the following are the symptoms of internal parasite infection:
- Diarrhea (with or without the presence of mucus or blood);
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Sudden loss of weight;
- Distended or pot-bellied abdomen;
- Lack of energy;
- Scooting (a problem concerning a dog’s anal sac);
- Visible segments or worms on a dog’s fecal matter;
- Persistent and worsening coughing;
- Breathing difficulties;
- Anemia; and so on.
External parasites are easier to discover than internal parasites. Usually, symptoms of intestinal infection don’t show until the condition has become severe. That’s why preventing infestations is so important. Bring your dog to your local veterinarian immediately if such symptoms occur.
Fecal exams and preventative care may help determine and address the root cause of the problem as early as possible before it worsens. Fecal examinations enable veterinarians to diagnose infections caused by internal parasites by observing the spores or eggs in your dog’s stool.
How Do Dogs And Puppies Get Parasites
There are plenty of ways for a dog or puppy to get parasites. External parasites like ticks and fleas can jump from animal to animal, but they can also jump from windows, doors, bushes, and long grasses.
Internal parasites are often transmitted when a dog consumes contaminated water or food. Puppies may contract intestinal parasites when they’re being nursed by their infected mothers.
Tips To Keep Your Dogs And Puppies Parasite-Free
Now that you understand the risk of parasitic infestation, it’s time to learn how to prevent them and keep your furry little angel parasite-free. Here are some of the most effective tips to help you:
- Use Parasite Cleansing Herbs
There are a few herbs that can keep internal parasites away from your dogs. These include black cumin seeds, thyme, chamomile, and olive leaves.
- Black Cumin Seeds
Black cumin seeds are safe for most dogs and can eliminate most worms in your dog’s system. This is why it’s referred to as ‘the cure for all except death.’
When buying black cumin seeds, look for whole ones if possible. If not, black cumin seed oil may work just as fine yet you need to reduce the dosage to half.
If you’re using the seeds, add ½-1 tsp per day to their meals. And you may heat the seeds to remove the bitter flavor if your puppy finds the taste weird and unappealing.
Thyme is ideal for getting rid of hookworms. You can use both fresh and dried ones. Add a teaspoon per pound of food.
If you have a pregnant or lactating dog, make sure they don’t reach any form of thyme because of its high volatile oil levels.
Chamomile is another herb known for its ability to get rid of and prevent whipworms and roundworms. It can reduce the inflammation parasites have caused as well.
Choose chamomile in the form of tinctures. Then, give your puppy 0.25 ml per 10 pounds of body weight. Do this twice daily, but since some dogs are allergic to chamomile, it’d be best to test it before using it.
Apply a small drop on your pup’s skin. If it shows negative side effects, stop using it right away.
- Olive Leaves
Olive leaves contain a compound called oleuropein. This chemical is known for eliminating parasites inside your pup’s intestines. For best results, look for one with at least 12% oleuropein, and give it to your dog for a minimum of eight weeks.
For puppies, use 300 mg two times per day.
Make sure to use these natural remedies one at a time to find out which works best for your puppy. Additionally, you can try combining two or more to increase and maximize their effects.
- Create An Anti-Parasite Diet
An anti-parasite diet may help eliminate intestinal parasites from your puppy’s system. Start by removing food high in sugar and grains, such as processed kibble treats.
Sugar is food for harmful gut microorganisms, causing inflammation. If left ignored, it can lead to infection and compromise your dog’s immunity. This allows parasites to live and feed off their hosts at their expense.
A whole-food diet is a great way to limit your dog’s sugar intake. This will help get rid of parasites in their system. In addition, limit your dog’s access to fruits due to their high sugar content. It’d be best to choose low-sugar fruits, such as raspberries, cranberries, and blueberries.
Aside from berries, here are other food options best for your puppies:
- Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds can combat intestinal parasites. They contain antioxidants, including tetracyclic triterpenes, that can paralyze parasitic worms, making it difficult for them to survive. For puppies 15-30 lbs, ¼ cup of pumpkin seeds per day is ideal. For 15 lbs and below, 1-2 tsp is enough.
- High-Fiber Vegetables
Fiber-rich vegetables can help eliminate parasites in your dog’s body. They nourish the gut and promote regular bowel movement, moving the parasites out of your dog’s digestive tract. Look for vegetables like broccoli, kale, spinach, zucchini, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and green beans.
Ginger, in small amounts, is safe for most dogs. It contains antibacterial and antiparasitic properties that help eliminate parasites by increasing the stomach acid in your dog’s stomach. Grate and mix ginger in your dog’s meal. For puppies, ¼ tsp or less of freshly grated ginger is recommended.
Other food options that may help get rid of the parasites in your dog’s system are apple cider vinegar and pineapple.
- Keep Your Home Clean
External parasites such as fleas and ticks love staying indoors that’s why it’s important to keep it clean as much as possible. Vacuum your home regularly to reduce the number of fleas and ticks that may trouble your puppies.
Don’t forget to clean your yard and garage too. Always clean right after your dog makes a bowel movement. Feces is home to many internal parasites, so make sure they don’t eat it and get rid of it as soon as possible.
Because ticks thrive in low-hanging bushes and tall grass, make sure to mow your yard regularly and keep your grass short to keep them at bay.
- Actively Monitor Your Puppy
Always comb your puppy’s coat with a flea comb; if you find some fleas or ticks, get rid of them immediately.
Use a flea and tick spray to remove parasites when your dog takes a bath. Then, use flea and tick shampoo to kill them off.
If symptoms persist, visit a veterinarian to determine if your dog is positive for tick-borne illnesses. They’ll recommend different treatment regimens that fit your dog’s lifestyle.
- Bring Your Dog To The Vet Every Six Months
Regularly visit a vet for physical exams, vaccinations, and diagnostic tests. This will help you determine if your dog is suffering from parasitic infestations. Early diagnosis can help in fighting off disease effectively. Further, your vet may also prescribe topical creams to treat the redness of your dog’s skin due to constant itching.
Parasites, both external and internal, can damage your puppy’s immune system as well as make them prone to a range of harmful diseases. That’s why, as a fur parent, it’s your responsibility to keep them parasite-free at all times. To do that, you may follow the tips and insights discussed above. These include feeding your dogs with herbs, creating an anti-parasite diet, keeping your home clean, bringing your dog regularly to the vet, and more.