Many pet owners can’t deny how loveable dogs are.
Their boundless loyalty and affectionate behavior – not to mention their cuteness – are only some of the qualities you’re guaranteed to experience when adopting a dog.
But as easy as it is to get blinded by them, some dog owners-to-be overlook just how delicate dogs’ health is. Because of this, they’re leaving their dogs wide open for potential health issues to take root.
One of the most common health risks dogs undergoes is a parasitic infestation, particularly worms. All sorts of worms can be found living inside a dog, and most of them fall under the following categories:
- Nematodes frequent the dog’s essential systems, such as the intestines, heart, and lungs. Depending on what nematode it is, dealing with them isn’t as ‘thrilling’ as many dog owner horror stories imply. After all, the only thing they do is inhabit certain parts of the body, namely the small intestine and colon. Normally, there are different nematodes, but they all share the same cylindrical shape.
- Cestodes (also called tapeworms) are ‘flattened’ compared to nematodes. Moreover, they also inhabit the intestines exclusively. Because of this, they’re responsible for stealing most of the nutrients fed to the dog, which effectively destroys its appetite.
- Other worms are most likely the most dangerous type of worms, considering they include heartworms and lungworms. For those who don’t know, heartworms often live in the dog’s heart and pulmonary arteries after spreading due to mosquito bites.
At first, the effects of these worms might not be as serious. However, the longer they remain untreated, the higher their chances of becoming severe. Once that happens, most dog systems would be too damaged to do anything. Therefore, protecting your dogs from these parasites must fall into the hands of the dog owners.
How Do Dogs Get Worms?
As eager as you are to keep those worms away from your pet dog, be aware of where they come from first. Although some of them have already been hinted at earlier, there are much broader sources of worms that all dog owners must be careful of, such as the following:
- (Dog) Mother
Admittedly, most of them might seem unavoidable, especially if you’re adopting a stray. But be that as it may, worm infestation shouldn’t stop you from adopting instead of buying. Because what some owners don’t know is that there are multiple preventive measures for dogs to avoid getting infected.
Ways To Prevent Worms
Since worm infestations can leave lasting damage to a dog’s health, preventing it is much better than finding a cure at the last minute. Hence, here are some solutions you can put into practice as soon as you get a dog:
- Do Regular Clean-up
One of the most run-of-the-mill causes of health issues for dogs depends on their environment. Because despite how regularly you bathe your dog, as long as its surroundings are dirty, no amount of dog soap can get rid of parasites. After all, dirt is where they thrive the most. Therefore, if you frequently let your dog out for a walk or to ‘do its business’ outside, worms and other parasites are free to latch onto it.
Before anything else, start by cleaning their kennel or living area. Since your dog regularly goes outside, these two things are likely to get contaminated the most with parasitic eggs. Disinfect the kennel regularly by using a solution. Ideally, it’s best to utilize chemicals such as diluted bleach or sodium borate to kill any foreign organisms. As for the bed, wash it at least once a week to reduce the chance of fleas and other pests reproducing.
Now that you’ve handled where your dog frequents, focus on the bigger picture next, particularly the surrounding area. If you regularly let out your dog in your yard, check the area daily to see if any rats or mice are infesting the place. Because of how dirty they are, there’s no doubt they’re the best hosts for all sorts of parasites. Aside from that, stagnant water and bugs (like slugs or snails) must also be taken care of.
- Provide Supplements
Typically, dogs cultivate parasites more if their bodies’ defense systems are weak. Hence, feed them with food supplements to improve their chances of protecting themselves. Fortunately, you can always approach a veterinary wholesaler to ask about effective supplements to give your dog. Ensure you’re thorough when informing them about any health condition the dog has. Otherwise, the food supplement might do more harm than good.
Since most worms are cultivated inside the dog’s digestive system, dog owners must look for food supplements that reinforce their digestion and immunity simultaneously. Lactobacillus acidophilus and Enterococcus faecium are some probiotics you should note down, considering they improve the population for gut microbiota and stimulate immunization, respectively. If these aren’t available, inquire the veterinarian for alternatives, such as digestive enzymes.
- Encourage Healthy Diet
Aside from food supplements, all-natural foods are another great source of vitamins and minerals, particularly fruits and vegetables. However, dogs’ digestive systems aren’t as versatile as humans. Hence, dog owners must be careful with what they feed their furry companions—or at least be mindful of its proportions. Luckily, despite some limits, there’s plenty of food to choose from.
If you’re wondering what’s the best food for preventing worms, veterinarians will recommend carrots since they’re rich in nutrients. Whether it’s vitamins or minerals, carrots are considered a powerhouse of nutrients. Therefore, if you want to ensure your dog’s digestive tract is free from infestation, carrots will destroy any eggs those worms leave behind.
- Avoid Areas With Feces
Dogs are as loyal as they are curious about their surroundings. Considering it’s in their nature to be on-the-know about whatever’s going on in their territory, they’re bound to check on everything they see, even when they’re outside your property. Although there’s nothing wrong with being curious, coming up to something foreign and smelling it is one way for parasites to transmit to your dog, especially if what they approached was a pile of feces.
Cleanliness is your best weapon for defending your dog from any parasite. Therefore, as soon as you spot a pile of poop, steer clear of it immediately. If your dog was the one who pooped, pick it up and avoid touching your companion afterward. Ensure you’ve cleaned your hands once you get home before you touch your dog.
- Consult Medical Professionals
Now you’ve done everything you can, bring your dog to a veterinarian for a checkup. With their advice, you’ll learn what other solutions you can try to protect your dog even better. They even offer medical procedures to eliminate any parasites while the fur ball is still a puppy; deworming is one of them, as well as a checklist of vaccinations you need to complete to build up its immune system.
Even the thought of having worms inside your body is enough to send a shiver up your spine. Imagine how it is for dog owners who already consider it normal to find worms in their pet’s feces.
But despite how common it is, dog owners must remain vigilant when dealing with worms. Fortunately, there are numerous solutions available that allow them to take matters into their own hands or turn to professionals for better alternatives