When your dog is out and about on their daily adventures they can bring back with them some less than welcome guests. There are thousands of different parasites that can live on your dog, some can make your dog very uncomfortable others can make your dog unwell. Here is some information on the most common parasites your dog can pick up.
Fleas are tiny jumping, blood sucking insects that survive by drinking blood to obtain nutrients needed to live and reproduce. There are thousands of different types of flea but the most common is the cat flea.
Fleas can cause a range of problems for dogs ranging from mild irritation and discomfort to severe allergic reaction, that is most likely caused by fleas saliva, and blood loss which can be severe if your dog is young or has a large flea infestation. If your dog is constantly scratching or biting themselves you should get them checked for fleas. You might actually be able to see a flea if you part your dogs hair but you are more likely to see flea dirt. Flea dirt is the faeces of fleas and is mainly made up of digested blood. It will probably look like black specks in your dogs coat.
If you suspect your dog has fleas you should get them checked out by a vet who will advise you of treatment options as well as providing you with ways of flea prevention.
Worms are mainly internal parasites that live in the intestines of dogs, although there ar also heart and lung worms. Puppies and elderly dogs are particularly susceptible to worm infestations although they should be treated in all dogs to prevent health problems. Worms can cause a variety of problems including diarrhoea, weight loss, loss of coat condition, breathing problems and even seizures.
Worms can be transmitted from mother to pups, by your dog eating poo or dead animals, dogs grooming themselves and from animal to animal.
If you suspect your dogs has worms get them checked out by a vet. It can be very hard to prevent your dog from picking up worms so its best that they are treated on a regular basis to stop any infestation before it causes health problems. consult with your vet the various options available for worm prevention and treatment.
Ticks are blood sucking relations of the spider that can transmit diseases to your dog while feeding. They attach themselves to animals or birds feed off blood and then drop off. They like damp, dense vegetation and they have a sticky shell which helps them attach to passing animals they then move down the hair to the skin. They will then bite through the skin and feed for 24-48 hours, growing in size, before dropping off. You should check your dog over after walks, ticks may look like warts. If you are confident in tick removal then you can do this yourself using widely available tick removers however you may wish to consult a vet as all of the tick needs to be removed. Quite often the mouth of the tick can be left behind which could cause irration or infection.
Hope this hasn't made you scratch too much.