Control of Parasites
The most common parasites that infest a dog’s intestines are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. These particular parasites cause damage to the digestive tract and also hinder the absorption of crucial nutrients. Diagnosis of intestinal parasitic infections is achieved by finding worm eggs, actual worms or even worm segments in the dog’s fecal matter. The fecal samples should be taken for periodic testing, either on a yearly basis or as scheduled by your veterinarian. Since puppies are more susceptible to parasite infection, their samples should be taken more frequently. Although these worms do not cause people’s intestines to be infected, hookworm infections have been known to occur in people without a strong immune system, resulting in stomach pain and swelling. Larvae from roundworms can also infect people if their eggs are ingested. When the larvae grow in the intestines, they tend to move into sensitive organs. Children and persons with weakened immunity are most susceptible to migration of the larvae to these organs. The important thing to know is that takes a month for roundworm eggs to become infective, so proper and prompt sanitation is vital. Clean your yard of any faecal matter in order to reduce probable exposure.
A really dangerous parasite is the heartworm, which is spread by mosquito bites. The heartworm thrives in the main blood vessels of the lungs, bringing about inflammation of blood vessels, damage to the heart and an early death. Dealing with this particular worm requires prevention rather than just cure. A curative approach carries major health risks, not to mention the probability of death. According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council (experts in veterinary medicine and parasites), heartworm prevention for dogs should be performed all year round. This is crucial as it is difficult toe to exactly predict when mosquitoes will be present. Furthermore, the preventive medication for the heartworm contains medicine that can also treat other intestinal parasites. Yearly blood tests are recommended to check for heartworm disease.
The usual exterior parasites include fleas, ticks, and mange mites. To control these particular exterior parasites, monthly treatments such as body sprays or spot preparations are administered by being placed on the skin between the shoulder blades. Detecting the presence of mange mites can be done by simply scraping the skin off infected areas, checking for mites or their eggs. Common signs of mange infection include red, crusty areas or hairless patches on the skin.
Lifelong dental care is imperative for all dogs. There are actions that you can take to maintain the good health and condition of your dog’s teeth such as feeding dry food, brushing their teeth on a regular basis, giving them specific ‘chewing’ toys, and taking them for professional veterinarian dental cleaning and oral care. Proper dental care is important in preventing plaque, which can easily degenerate to gingivitis and periodontal disease. If the case becomes severe, extraction of the tooth becomes necessary.
Periodic brushing of your dog’s hair coat is recommended in order to remove shed hairs and prevent matting. This is especially necessary for dog breeds that have shaggy coats that get easily tangled or matted. Mats tend to cause irritation to the skin, with the damp, stifling conditions beneath them making the skin more prone to infections by bacteria and parasites. Electric clippers, not scissors, are the best option when removing mats, in order to avoid cutting the skin below. Regular baths using pet shampoo is also essential for keeping the skin and fur healthy. On the other hand, too much bathing can aggravate and make skin and hair dry. Most dogs normally don’t require a bath more than once every month, but this is dependent on time of year and weather conditions.
Avoid Domestic Hazards
There are a variety of household hazards that you must keep away from your dog. These include chemicals, electrical cords, cleaning supplies, drugs, alcohol, pesticides, antifreeze, and toxic plants. It is imperative that these substances be kept very far away from the reach of dogs, especially puppies. Puppies tend to be naturally curious and will bite on anything, thus they are at greatest risk. Some hazardous items such as electrical cords can be sprayed or coated with a bad smelling substance to ward off eager dogs. The construction and design of the house should also be considered. Steep stairs, smooth floors, and unlocked windows also create likely hazards for pets and as much care as possible should be taken.