The 5 Most Common Parasites That Effect Your Dog

The 5 Most Common Parasites That Effect Your Dog

Occasionally, we all get sick and since we are all so different, some of us are more susceptible to certain infections and viruses, than others. The same goes for your dogs! It's helpful to know what parasites can have a stronger, more dangerous effect for your pet as well as knowing the pesky, less serious ones. 

Here are the top 5 most wide-spread parasites that can effect your pup's health.

1. Hookworms 
These nasty little buggers more commonly occur in dogs than in cats. They attach themselves to the lining of the small intestine and feed there on the creatures blood. Dogs, and especially puppies can contract hookworms easily and in a number of ways - in utero, from contact with feces contaminated with hookworm, or from ingesting hookworm eggs by accident.

Puppies are the most at risk when infested by hookworms but if untreated, adults can also suffer from fever and coughing if it has been allowed to move to their lungs. Humans can also contract hookworms and they'll usually react with a skin rash. 

Signs that your puppers may have contracted hookwarms could be lethargy and being overly tired, lack of appetite, diarrhea, weight loss, and blood in their feces. 

2. Roundworms
Roundworms can effect both cats and dogs and do so by latching onto the animal's intestinal tract. In fact, kittens and puppies have both been found to be born with roundworm larva in their systems already. This can be cause they can contract from their mother in utero. They can also contract them through their mother's milk or by interacting with infected feces. 

You can often see roundworms with the naked eye in your pet's feces or vomit. Human's can also contract roundworms and they can create a rash on the skin, and can also cause damage to the nervous system, liver, and eyes. 

Signs that your pet may have roundworms is a stunting in their growth if it's at a young age, diarrhea and vomiting. 

3. Whipworms
These are like hookworms in that they are more often found in dogs than in cats. These parasites are harder to detect as they usually live within your dog's large intestine and release much fewer eggs in a given time. The symptoms that your pet may have contracted whipworms don't usually appear until much later and they more infested. These dogs will show signs of vomiting, diarrhea, and mucus-covered stool. 

This can be a common ailment for kennel or shelter dogs and is unlikely to be transferred to your pet outside of these areas. 

4. Tapeworms
Tapeworms are normally contracted by ingesting something that is carrying a tapeworm egg, usually a large flea. Signs that your pet is suffering from a tapeworm can be tricky to identify. Gradual weight loss, or over-eating with no signs of weight gain can be symptoms as well as general itchiness around their bottom area and scooting on the carpet to relieve it. Occasionally dogs will also developed a distended abdomen too. 

Tapeworms are much more rare in humans and overall are had to pass along. To get rid of tapeworms your vet will likely administer medication by injection or orally. These meds are super effective but to keep your pet healthy against tapeworms it's best to keep your pet flea-free and away from dead or rotten animals, food, or garbage. 

5. Giardia
This is an example of a non-worm but instead a protozoan parasite that lives within your dog's intestinal tract. This can cause vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and lethargy although sometimes an affected pet may not show any symptoms at all. It's commonly spread by drinking water that contains feces as these parasites thrive in cool and moist places.

This is a good reason to be wary of sharing dog bowls at community dog parks. We recommend using a portable water bowl filter for your pet whenever traveling with your pet or when attending dog parks. This guarantees that your pet will be safe from any contaminated feces or particles that could cause them to be sick. If diagnosed, your pet will likely be prescribed medicine for the bet and will be scheduled a follow-up fecal examination. It may be wise to wash your dog on the final day of their medication to ensure there are no hidden parasites in and around their fur. 


Now that you know the basic bad guys, you can keep an eye out for your pet and help prevent them from attracting any bugs that could potentially make them sick. As much as we hate being sick, your pet certainly does too! 

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