Pet Pests: The Most Common Parasites for Dogs

Every dog breed is vulnerable to various parasites, which may affect them externally and internally. As a pet owner, you will want to ensure your dog feels healthy and happy throughout the years. To do so, you must eliminate every type of pest on or inside their body.

Also, you must be aware that some troublesome parasites can transfer to humans. Stopping pests is the best way to protect your pooch and your family. Find out more about the most common parasites for dogs and the best solutions available.


Most dogs will suffer from fleas at some stage in their life. Contrary to popular belief, fleas don’t mean your dog is dirty and there isn’t a breed immune from the annoying pests.

If you have never seen fleas before, they are wingless, hard-bodies insects that can jump from great distances despite their tiny, narrow size. The fleas will not only find a home in your dog’s fur, but they will suck on your pet’s blood. As a result, fleas can increase your canine’s risk of various problems, such as:

  • Flea allergic dermatitis
  • Itchiness
  • Skin irritation
  • Anemia
  • Tapeworm infection

If you find fleas on your dog, you must treat every animal on the property to stop the spread. Once fleas find a home on an animal, they can be hard to eliminate. One flea on your pet might not mean an infestation, but you would be wise to treat the issue immediately to prevent it from multiplying to 200 or 300 fleas. Visit a veterinarian as soon as you spot an infestation. Most vets will prescribe a single-use oral tablet that will kill all fleas within 30 minutes.

Also, you may need to eliminate a flea infestation in your home to prevent the pests from jumping back onto your dog’s coat. Find a reputable pest control company to banish the parasites. For instance, Gulf Coast Exterminators has provided reasonably priced and very effective Sugar Land pest control for over 20 years.

Of course, prevention is better than cure, which is why you must introduce effective flea prevention products, such as oral tablets, a topical treatment for your dog’s skin, or a combination. Always consult a veterinarian to administer the safest product for your canine.


If contending with fleas isn’t bad enough, dogs can encounter ticks that will happily suck their blood. A tick cannot only feed on canines and cats, as they can attach their mouthparts to human skin. The greedy parasites will suck hard on the skin, causing it to become engorged and sore.

Also, ticks can spread serious diseases, such as:

Unfortunately, disease symptoms tend to develop once it has progressed to a severe state, which can seriously affect a pet or human’s health. For this reason, you must attempt to treat a dog for a tick-borne disease before any symptoms appear.

Ticks commonly live in tall grass or forest areas, but they may live on beaches or in urban environments. However, they often become dormant when temperatures drop below 37 degrees Fahrenheit.

Like fleas, you can use preventative treatments to stop the parasites from attaching to your dog. For example, a vet may prescribe routine medications to prevent various parasites. However, you must still check your dogs for ticks after spending time in areas where they are prevalent, such as woodlands and parks. Also, you may need to call in pest control to banish a tick infestation from your property to protect the whole family’s health.


A mosquito bite can cause dogs to develop heartworms. Larvae are transmitted to canines via the bite and will travel through many tissues. Over time, the larvae will transform into adult worms that live inside a dog’s lungs or heart, hence the name. Unfortunately, internal pests can cause serious illness in dogs, which can prove fatal if untreated.

Heartworm treatments are often expensive, risky, and time-consuming. For this reason, every pet owner must provide heartworm prevention treatments to protect a pooch all year long from pests. Visit a qualified veterinarian for more information.


Most dogs have a small number of mites on their body. Yet, the pests don’t tend to bother canines, as they have a strong immune system to keep control of their population. Yet, Demodex mites are more problematic, as they can cause generalized or localized hair loss and thickened, scaly skin. It is often a problem for dogs or puppies with compromised immune systems. Small patches may clear up over time without treatment, but large affected areas may require an oral or topical prescription medication for many weeks or months.

Canine scabies is another contagious mite that will burrow into a dog’s skin and may cause hair loss, itching, and scabs. As scabies are hard to detect on a dog’s skin, a veterinarian will rely on a canine’s exposure history and clinical signs to make a diagnosis and provide the appropriate treatment, such as special medicated baths or oral medications.

Intestinal Worms

Dogs can develop intestinal worms from their general environment and behaviors. For instance, they might be transmitted via fleas, contaminated soil, or when ingesting animal carcasses.

Four of the most common intestinal worms include:

  • Tapeworms
  • Hookworms
  • Roundworms
  • Whipworms

If a dog develops an intestinal parasite, it will likely experience one or more unpleasant symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and lethargy. However, some dogs may not develop any symptoms at all.

Routine screening and preventative treatments are the best course of action for intestinal worms. A veterinarian may recommend you bring along a fecal sample to test for parasites each time you attend a routine check-up with your pooch. Also, prevent the issue by moving your dog away from wildlife droppings and trash to protect their health and happiness.

If you suspect your pet pooch has one of the above parasites, you must not hesitate to visit a qualified veterinarian for a diagnosis and the appropriate treatment.

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