The Dangers of Parasites

We have all come face to face with flea and other parasite problems in our pets. In a humid country like ours, many pet owners have come across parasites on their pets coats’ which thrive by living off your dog, cat or even your rabbit. The following are some tips for you, to guide you and keep you well informed about some of the most dreadful parasites than can harm your pet.

What are parasites?

Parasites are organisms living in or on another organism, which depends on its host for support and/or existence and usually causing harm directly or indirectly, examples include ticks, lice and worms.

They can be sub-divided into internal and external parasites, designated as such by the location in or around the body. Internal parasites consist of worms, flukes, etc. Those that are found on a pet’s body are known as external parasites, commonly seen in dogs and cats as ticks, fleas and mites.

We shall look at fleas as they are most commonly identified problem faced by veterinary practices today. This information is crucial and we hope it will help you understand certain facts and gear yourself better in getting to know your pet better.

Fleas are more common in dogs than in cats and they multiply at an alarming rate. In just a couple of weeks you can have an outbreak causing unnecessary grief to your pet. To understand this better, we shall illustrate the life cycle of the flea. See the diagram below:

The life cycle of a flea

Always keep in mind that as few as 10 adult female fleas can quickly grow to a quarter of a million in just 30 days! The most effective way to eliminate the flea problem is not only to manage fleas on your pet, but to also de-flea other pets and the environment they live in.

How regular grooming helps in keeping the fleas away

Firstly, it allows you to pay more attention on your pet, building a social bond, a sense of responsibility and a greater understanding of your pet.

Secondly it removes dead hair, avoids matted and unkempt looking coats especially in long-haired and double coated dogs, as well as keeping the natural oils in the hair.

Thirdly, it helps improve blood circulation in the skin, which in turn improves the condition of the coat.

For normal short-haired dogs one or two grooming sessions per week is sufficient. Before you start combing or brushing your dog, check to see if your dogs’ toenails need clipping. You will have to check each claw and see if it is pointed. Check with your veterinarian and ask his advice if you are not sure. While you are at it, check his eyes, and ears too. The ears are a favourite spot for ticks to hide, especially floppy eared dogs, such as Cocker Spaniel.

Solutions to flea problems and what fleas look like?

So, how do fleas look like? Fleas are little, quick moving, flat brown insects that suck blood and annoy dogs, other animals and people. These insects do not stay on the dog. They will actually hop on and off. This is the main reason why veterinarians recommend that you also treat the sleeping area of your pet with flea powders or sprays.

Some of them are, flea shampoos, spot-on, and sprays. These work well on your pet and they are available only at veterinary clinics. Some pets are given a tick bath or wash to get rid of ticks and fleas. Flea shampoos, flea collars, are also available to keep unwanted parasites at bay. Bathe and shampoo your pet at least once a week and not too often, as it washes away the natural oils from the skin that helps keep it supple and protected.

However, when you have a problem like a large flea infestation in your home, a good idea would be to get the help of an exterminator. He would certainly be your best bet in eradicating a flea attack!