Parasite Control in Pets: Should I Flea and Worm my Pet?
Flea and worming your pets can be overwhelming with so many options, but regular parasite control is important for the health of both your pet and your family.
Due to the combination of ingredients in different products, most canine parasite protocols protect against ticks or lungworm, but not both. It is advisable to decide a treatment plan based on local risk level. You may need to change products if you are holidaying elsewhere in the UK.
Flea and wormers are available in spot-on or tablet forms. Tablets may be preferable for dogs who swim a lot, while spot-ons are great for pets who won’t take medication.
Most parasites have a life cycle of 4-6 weeks so treating at regular intervals is essential to prevent infestation.
Many animals don’t display symptoms until an infestation is severe. Regular preventative treatment keeps your pets free from parasites.
Here’s what you need to protect against and how to decide which products to use.
Fleas feed on your pet’s blood, causing discomfort, itching and even allergic reactions. They also bite humans! Fleas spend most of their life off the animal where they breed in soft furnishings such as carpet.
The eggs hatch and jump back onto your pet to feed. A flea infestation is challenging to get rid of, so prevention is better than cure. Fleas can spread disease to people, such as the bacteria that causes cat scratch fever.
Ticks live in vegetation, latching onto animals when they pass by. They attach and feed for 2-4 days, swelling up before dropping off. Ticks that are feeding cannot easily be detached; a special tick hook is needed to remove them or you risk leaving their mouthparts embedded in the skin.
Ticks are more common in some areas of the country. They aren’t harmful themselves but can spread diseases such as Lyme Disease and Babesia to both animals and people.
If your dog or cat frequently picks up ticks it’s advisable to choose a parasite protocol that will prevent against them.
Roundworms cause vomiting, diarrhoea and poor growth, particularly in puppies and kittens.
Regular worming is also important for human safety; worm eggs are shed in dog faeces and can cause serious harm in people, especially children, rarely even causing blindness.
Tapeworms can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and weight loss as well as irritation around the back end.
Infection is often from raw meat but tapeworm eggs are also spread by fleas.
Lungworm larvae are spread by slugs and snails, including in their slime trails. Although uncommon in many parts of the UK infection can cause serious illness and even death. Lungworm only affects dogs.
It’s wise to join a preventative health care scheme…
Did you know membership schemes like The Healthy Pet Club include your pet’s regular flea and worming treatments? You could spread the cost of your pet’s preventative health care and save money too! Find out more at thehealthypetclub.co.uk today.
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