5 Strategies for Preventing Parasites in Dogs

Parasites in dogs include fleas, worms, ticks and heartworms. While parasitic infestation is common, you can reduce the incidence of infestation by taking steps to protect your dog. Here are some ways that you can reduce and prevent parasites in dogs.

1. Practice Flea Control

Flea control is difficult. You not only have to keep fleas off your dog, but also out of your house and lawn. Start by controlling the fleas on your dog.

The best way to control fleas on your dog is to use a monthly topical flea preventative like Frontline or Advantage. Not only are these flea repellents the most effective, they're also easiest to use. They repel ticks, too.

Flea collars also provide some level of effectiveness, but they won't kill all the fleas on your dog; dips provide good residual flea control, but they may irritate the skin of some dogs. Shampoos, powders and sprays kill adult fleas on your dog, but they don't kill flea eggs or larvae and the effects don't last very long.

Keep fleas out of your house by vacuuming high traffic areas, and the area around your dog's bedding, daily. Keep linens, upholstery and curtains clean. If you have a lot of fleas in your house, and especially if you're not using a topical flea preventative, you might want to consider using an indoor insecticide to kill fleas in your home.

Kill fleas in your yard by keeping your property neat, clean and free of leaves, brush piles and other debris where fleas might live. Mow your lawn regularly; fleas, flea eggs and flea larvae like moist, shady soil, so if the sunlight reaches your soil fleas won't be able to thrive there.

2. Prevent Tapeworms by Controlling Fleas

Tapeworms use the adult flea as an intermediary host. The flea ingests the tapeworm egg, and then, when the dog bites or scratches a flea bite, he ingests the egg-carrying flea and becomes infested with tapeworms. Keeping fleas off your dog prevents tapeworm.

3. Don't Let Your Dog Eat Feces

Your dog can catch whipworms and roundworms from the feces of other dogs who might be infected with these parasites. When walking your dog, avoid feces and don't let your dog eat any of it. Clean up after your dog; he might be infested with these parasites without your knowledge, and cleaning up after him helps prevent the spread of parasites.

4. Use a Heartworm Preventative

Heartworm infestation is spread by mosquito bites and, if left untreated, can be fatal. Often, symptoms of heartworm infestation don't appear until the condition has become serious. Use a monthly heartworm preventative medicine to protect your dog against heartworm.

5. Get Your Dog Checked for Parasites Every Six Months

No matter what you do to prevent parasitic infestation, your dog may still become infested with parasites. Some parasites, like hookworm, infest your dog by burrowing through the skin, and can live in the soil for a long time. Get your dog checked for parasites regularly, that way, if he does become infested, you can treat the problem before it becomes serious.