Fleas and worms are the most common problem for dogs and it's important to remember that they are more than just a nuisance. They are parasites which, if left untreated, can lead to serious health complications and can even be passed on to humans.
This short guide is a helpful reminder for everyone on the dangers of flea and worms, whether you're an experiences owner or you have a new puppy ready to explore the great outdoors. It will cover all you need to know about how to spot the signs and symptoms, how to treat them and, most importantly, how to prevent your dog getting them in the first place. We'll also explain how Healthy Paws helps prevent fleas and worms too.
Dog fleas: signs and symptoms
It's so easy for your dog to pick up fleas on a daily walk or just out in the garden and, if they are brought back into your home, an infestation can quickly develop. They are normally only 1-2mm in size and they can easily jump from other pets, animals and wildlife on to your dog, where they will live in their skin and hair for about 14 days. Female fleas lay up to 40 eggs every day. These eggs are usually white, are oval shaped and about 1/2 mm long.
Signs your dog may have fleas
If your dog has fleas, you will notice them constantly scratching as the fleas will irritate their skin.
Other signs and symptoms include:
- Excessive scratching, itching, biting or licking
- Loss of hair- mainly on lower back and tail
- Fleas bites/scabs
- Red patches on the skin
- Skin infections
- Small bumps on the body
If untreated, more serious symptoms can develop, including skin infections, dermatitis, anaemia and worms (from a flea infected with tapeworm larvae)
Worms: signs and symptoms
Dogs can get infected by eating worm eggs found in contaminated soil, grass or stools, or by eating infected rodents, raw meat or fleas. Hookworms can be caught from larvae via entry through their skin, usually their paws, The five main types of worms affecting dogs are roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, whipworms and heartworms.
Signs your dog may have worms
Worms are very dangerous for dogs of all ages. They can cause severe weight loss, will leave them very weak, very hungry and can even diarrhoea and sickness. In rare cases, worms can even be fatal.
The worms or worm eggs will be visible in your dog's faeces, near their rear, or in their fur,
Symptoms will include:
- Weight loss
- Constant hunger
- Dull coat, loss of hair
- Irritated or inflamed skin
How to prevent fleas and worms in dogs
You can't stop your dog from picking up fleas and worms, so it's essential you make sure they are protected with a regular flea and worming treatment every month. Frequency of treatment will depend on where they live, their environment and lifestyle. Puppies need to be wormed more often as most are born with worms and can be infected through their mother's milk.
Healthy Paws can help prevent fleas and worms
Our Healthy Paws dog food recipes contain a unique blend of herbs and vegetables (including garlic, carrot, seaweed and cranberry), which have all been proven to help in the prevention of flea and worm infestations. We also add brewer's yeast to our kibble as a nutritional supplement, which has been shown to help in repelling fleas too. This is a much safer and calmer way to control fleas in our dogs.
Diet alongside a strong and healthy immune system is vital in dogs and the best way to prevent worms and any disease. Healthy Paws recipes are 100% natural and high in fibre from carrots, beetroot, bananas, apples, coconut and papaya, which also act as a natural dewormer.
Treatment for fleas and worms
If you spot any signs of any fleas on your dog, you should give them a flea treatment unexpectedly and speak to your vet for advice on the best type of medication. Give your dog a good wash to try and kill any eggs and/or fleas living on their skin. There are several flea shampoos available or you can just use a mild soap. Make sure you wash your dog's bedding and give your house, especially sofas and carpets, a thorough clean. Fleas lay a lot of eggs each day, so it's important that these are also killed.
If you notice any worms in your dog's faeces, or around its rear, then immediately contact your vet. They will complete a thorough check, diagnose the specific type of infestation and provide the appropriate treatment. The only way to get rid of worms properly is for your dog to be prescribes a proper deworming medication.