Why Care About Parasites | Pet Quest

Why Care About Parasites

Although summer is almost over, there is still plenty for us to do outdoors. This last-minute sprint to get some fun activities in before the cold weather comes usually also involves our pets. At this point you are probably already thinking about your final efforts to control fleas, ticks, and other parasites.

Once you've got you last bit of summer fun in and the cold weather starts you can relax and not really worry about those nasty fleas, ticks, and other parasites. Right?

Wrong. Parasites, as well as fleas and ticks, can be contracted by your pet all year long. That's because your pet always has the opportunity to come into contact with another animal that has some sort of parasite infestation.

Another thing is that many pets are indoor pets who probably never venture outside. Are they at risk? Yes they are. Especially in the warmer weather because many parasites are passed along by insects.

Therefore, if you know some of the facts you should be able to make wise decisions in the prevention and control of fleas, ticks, and parasites. Consider the following now to start a healthy regiment for the prevention of fleas, ticks, and other parasites. It will help you now and even more next summer.

  • Research has shown that more than 25 percent of heartworm-positive cats live exclusively indoors. Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes, and since they get inside your house and bite you, they can get to your cat, too. Needless to say, indoor dogs are also at risk.
  • Some intestinal parasites can be transmitted to puppies during fetal development or to puppies and kittens as they nurse from their mothers. So even if your new puppy or kitten has never been outside and seems perfectly healthy, he can still have intestinal parasites. If you introduce a new pet into your home, he can also bring parasites with him and expose your other pets and family members.
  • Fleas can get into your home more easily than you might think. Even if your dog doesn’t spend a lot of time outside, it doesn’t take long for fleas to find their way to him and back into your house. If someone visiting your home brings a pet and that pet has fleas… well, you get the idea.
  • You don’t need to hike through the woods to come into contact with ticks. Although ticks like to inhabit wooded areas, spots near your home, such as woodpiles, shrubs and tall grass, can also be attractive to the parasites.
  • Your happy, healthy, bouncing adult dog or cat may not have diarrhea, vomiting or other signs of intestinal parasites, but many animals with worms don’t show signs of illness. The best way to determine if your pet has intestinal parasites is to see your veterinarian for an examination and fecal test. Don’t just assume that a pet who seems fine is.
  • If your dog or cat is already receiving a product that controls fleas, ticks, heartworms and some intestinal parasites, great job. You’re taking parasite prevention seriously, and your pet is undoubtedly healthier because of your efforts. But there are intestinal parasites out there, like Giardia and Coccidia, that preventive medications can’t control.

You probably already take excellent care of your pet. So why should you care about parasites? Parasites are everywhere all year long. There are plenty of products to control them. However, we still have to be vigilant. Always check your pet and yourself for ticks when you came back from a walk.

Plus, you should be seeing your veterinarian on a regular basis for your pet's general wellness which will include a fecal test. And you should be on a year-round program to prevent parasite infestations.

Dog Parasites - External | Pet Quest
Three types of external parasites found on dogs.
Dog With Fleas | Pet Quest
Hair from a dog with a flea infestation.

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