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Importance of Parasite Control in Dogs

Parasites are an ongoing threat to your dog that can range from a slight annoyance to a life-threatening disease or condition. In this post, our Oakland vets discuss the importance of parasite control and preventive care for dogs.

Parasites in Pets

A parasite is an organism that feeds on your dog without offering any benefit. Parasites can spread a variety of diseases that can be extremely harmful to dogs, other pets, and even humans. They also steal nutrients from your dog and some can cause irreversible damage to your dog's organs.

How Parasites Are Contracted

Insect bites, other animal feces, and even being passed down from mother to child are all ways for your dog to become infected. Once a dog is infected, it can be difficult to completely eradicate the infestation. As a result, the best solution is to take preventative measures so your dog doesn't contract them in the first place. Some parasites that dogs may have include:


Fleas are common pests that can infect your dog's fur. They are normally an annoyance, constantly biting and causing skin irritation. These are possibly the first thing you think of when it comes to dogs and parasites. However, they can effectively be prevented and are not too difficult to get rid of if your dog becomes infested. Just be sure to take care of a flea infestation as quickly as possible


These little bugs bury their heads into the flesh of animals. They pick up diseases such as Lyme disease by attaching to an infected animal and can spread them by then biting a healthy one. These pesky parasites can pose a threat to cats, dogs, and even people.

Heartworm Disease

Mosquitoes are a common vector of this parasite. Once infected, the worm grows, reproduces, and spreads throughout the dog's body. Because of their unfortunate habit of embedding in the heart muscle, they were given the name heartworm. They can be found in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of an infected dog.

The problem with diagnosing them is that by the time the symptoms appear, the infection has progressed quite far. Internal organs can be severely damaged by these worms. It is unlikely that humans will become infected with this parasite.


This parasite can be transmitted from mother to child before birth. It can also be transmitted through eggs that are excreted and then swallowed. The egg can survive for weeks without a host and can infect humans, particularly children (which makes you question every sandbox you played in as a child). In dogs, this can cause stunted growth and a pot-belly appearance. Worms also emerge from both ends.


These dreadful creatures can infect your dog by consuming infected mother's milk, eating the eggs, or burrowing them into the skin. These creatures are tiny vampires that feed on the blood of animals by entering the GI tract and tearing holes in the lining, causing ulcers. They are lethal to young puppies and can cause anemia in adult dogs.

These heinous creatures can burrow into human skin as well. Sandboxes, like roundworms, are notorious for being vectors of transmission (why do we let kids play in sandboxes?).

Parasite Prevention for Dogs at East Bay Veterinary Clinic

If you're wondering how to prevent parasites in dogs, the best thing you can do is keep up with their vaccinations. Dog parasite prevention is a much more ideal method when compared to treating your dog after they have been infected. Your vet will be able to advise you of a schedule for inoculation. Be sure to bring your dog in for annual wellness checks so your vet can test for infestation.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog due for their parasite preventive measures? Contact our Oakland vets to book an appointment for your pup.

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