Your pet scratching their fur on occasion can be perfectly normal behavior. But when does it become a concern? Unfortunately, parasites can infect your dog or cat regardless of season, geographic location or breed. Luckily, if you do your research you can start on the road to parasite prevention! Trupanion's on-staff veterinarian, Dr. Sarah Nold, has some tips that will help you protect your pet.
Do your research. Read up on what parasites might affect your pet. There are the common critters that you've probably heard aboutâ€”fleas and ticks are well-known inhabitants of pet fur. But what about hookworm or whipworm? Knowing what's out there will help you protect your best friend from welcoming an unwanted visitor.
Talk to your veterinarian. Have questions about your pet's health or unsure about which product to use? Your veterinarian is your best resource. They can help establish your pet on a year-round parasite control program that's specifically tailored for your cat or dog.
Know the risks. While parasites can crop up in any environment, each area has its own risks. Consult with your veterinarian to determine what your pet is susceptible toâ€”and make sure they're aware of any travel plans! Just like humans need to be aware of risks when they go abroad, your pet can pick up new bugs in new areas.
Know the pet. Have a few furry friends at home? Make sure not to mix products. Dosage levels and susceptibility will differ depending on the pet, so make sure to keep their medications separate and labeled.
Know the symptoms. Even if you take all the possible preventative measures, there's still a chance your buddy will end up with a parasite. Don't fret! Take some time to read up on signs and symptoms of different parasites. For example, roundworm may show up as a distended or swollen abdomen, while whipworm may present itself with blood in your pet's feces. No matter what, if you think your best friend is feeling under the weather, take them to the veterinarian.
Congratulations! You're already one step closer to protecting your furry friend from parasites. Facts about these pesky critters may not be very â€˜fun', but they're still good to know!
- These creatures can come in a few formsâ€”typically categorized as either internal parasites or external parasites. Internal parasites live inside your pet's gastrointestinal system or heart. External ones make their homes on your pet's skin.
- While parasites are zoonoticâ€”which means they are able to transfer from animals to humansâ€”you don't have to worry just yet. It's fairly difficult to catch worms from your dog or cat if you have good hygiene habits.
- Worms are the most common internal parasite that your pet may encounter. Fortunately, all worms are treatable and heartworms are preventable.
Parasites may be a tough topic to think about, but your pet will thank you in the long run. Even just a visit to the veterinarian can help protect your best buddy.