Understanding the basics of puppy parasites
Besides food, water, exercise, and plenty of love and attention, your dog will rely upon you to manage his health. Your pooch is not like a person, even though he occasionally seems so. He is susceptible to a number of ailments, including worms and parasites. If these little bugs are allowed to fester inside your canine's body, they can cause severe health problems.
Below, we'll explain how the issue starts and why parasitic infections are so problematic, especially for puppies. You'll also learn to recognize symptoms that suggest your puppy has a few stowaways inside his body. Lastly, we'll describe how the condition is treated.
How The Infection Begins
Many owners would be surprised to know their puppies are likely to already have parasites and worms when they adopt them. Most pups will experience them at some point during their young lives. The mother is often the root cause.
If a puppy's mother had not been regularly dewormed prior to becoming pregnant, she may have played host for an assortment of different parasites. If that was the case, it's possible that your pup was infected while he was still in her womb. It's also possible that he ingested the bugs while nursing. The parasites can travel along the placenta and find their way onto the mother's mammary glands.
Another potential hazard is dog feces. Canines are routinely exposed to the feces of other dogs. This often happens while visiting parks or during walks. If there are parasite eggs present, your pooch can easily ingest them.
Recognizing The Symptoms
If your dog has developed a parasitic infection, he may begin to lose weight. It's common for canines who are suffering from parasites and worms to lose their appetite and experience diarrhea. If the infection is serious, your dog may start to tire easily and display low energy levels. The quality of his coat might also decline and he'll likely develop a pot belly.
How The Problem Is Resolved
Treating a parasitic infection involves several stages of deworming. The reason is because the medication that is used is only effective on adult parasites. Your puppy may ingest eggs and larvae, but the medication will not be effective on them until they mature. That can take months.
Experts recommend deworming be performed every two weeks for the first two months of your puppy's life. Then, your dog should be dewormed again at three months. If the infestation is serious, plan to deworm him once a month for three additional months. It's also important to clean any area in your home that your pup frequents. Otherwise, he may become infected again after having been dewormed.
It's worth underscoring that your puppy will likely endure one or more health issues at some point before he reaches adulthood. Plan for it. Make a note of any symptoms that suggest he may have picked up stowaways. And make sure you're taking him to his veterinarian on a regular basis. Treating these types of infections is easy, but your puppy relies on you to get them resolved.