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Treating worms and fleas in puppies

Puppies are susceptible to both internal and external parasites, so you’ll need to be vigilant about keeping up to date with their worm and flea treatment. Your vet will discuss treatment options with you, but here’s some general information on how worms and fleas can impact your pup’s health. 

Worming guidelines

Puppies and dogs should be treated for worms from two weeks of age; every two weeks until three months-old, then monthly until six months-old, then three-monthly thereafter, for life.

There are four different types of worms that affect dogs, which is why it is important to ensure you treat with a broad-spectrum product. The different worms are:

  • Roundworm
  • Hookworm
  • Whipworm
  • Tapeworm (praziquantel is the only active ingredient that is able to eradicate tapeworm)

How do I know if my pet has worms?

Internal parasites are not always easy to detect, but some common clinical signs include:

  • Pale gums (instead of the normal rosy pink)
  • Diarrhoea
  • A pot-bellied appearance (especially in puppies)
  • Weight loss
  • White segments resembling grains of rice in the faeces (these are tapeworm segments)
  • An irritated bottom (licking a lot and rubbing bottom on the ground)
  • Coughing

Prevention is best!

The importance of prevention in the control of intestinal parasites should not be underestimated. Some worms that affect dogs and cats can also pose a significant risk to human health. Children who are often closest to family pets are most at risk. Infections in humans can originate from the ingestion of eggs by not washing hands after playing with pets, the ingestion of eggs by small children ingesting soil contaminated with pet faeces or by the penetration of larvae through human skin.

Ensure maximum protection

Treat your pets for worms regularly and treat all pets in the household at the same time.
Always wash your hands after playing with your dog or cat and try to prevent your dog from licking your face.
Ensure that your pet’s bedding and sleeping areas are cleaned regularly and that they are free from fleas, old food scraps and faeces.
Avoid placing your pets bedding or kennel/run on bare earth.
Never feed your dog offal unless it has been boiled for 30 minutes prior to feeding.
Prevent your dog from scavenging dead carcasses.

Flea control

Many flea control preparations for adult dogs are not always suitable for use on puppies – so be sure to read the product guidelines before purchasing a product, especially from the supermarket.

Three key points for successful flea control

Use an integrated approach with the combination of an adulticide to kill adult fleas and an insect growth regulator to control the environmental stages of the flea lifecycle.
Treat every pet in the household (cats AND dogs) at the same time, year-round.
Always use a product as directed on the package labeling, being sure to follow the treatment interval guidelines.

Environmental factors to consider

  • Immature flea life-stages in the environment make up a whopping 95% of the flea population, and these are almost invisible to the human eye. Adult fleas are just the tip of the iceberg!
  • Try to avoid giving your pet access to under the house, as this dark, damp, moist environment is PERFECT for flea breeding.
  • Wash and/or clean your pets sleeping area and bedding regularly, and vacuum regularly if you have an inside pet – pets can carry flea eggs inside the house and drop them onto the carpet.

Did you know?

  • One adult flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day!
  • By the time you see fleas on your pet, an environmental infestation has already begun.
  • In winter the flea lifecycle may slow down, but it never stops – which is why year-round treatment is important.
  • Once a flea infestation is present in the home, it can take up to 3 months to resolve.
  • Cats and dogs share the same fleas although you may not notice adult flea on your cat as often, due to their efficient grooming.
  • Pets pick up fleas from the environment more often than by from contact with a flea infested animal.

There is a large variety of flea control products on the market; both topical and oral. Be sure to talk to us about the best control program for your situation.

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