One thing that no pet owner wants to think about is the nasty subject of parasites – or even worse, your pet passing on a parasite to your child. Because of their diet and inclination to eat things they find, dogs are a lot more susceptible to picking up parasites such as worms.
This is why responsible pet owners give their dogs a worming treatment. A dog’s health and happiness will be severely compromised if he picks up worms and the ramifications of parasites being transmitted to members of the family are extremely unpleasant.
It is uncommon, but it is not unheard of for a dog to transmit a parasite to a member of the family. With proper precautions, this can be avoided.
What are parasites?
Parasites are organisms that live on a ‘host’. They attach themselves to a host either externally (such as fleas or ticks) or internally (worms) and feed off the host either by intercepting food inside the body or by sucking blood.
Parasites can move from host to host, causing illness, weight loss, sight loss and in extreme cases, fatality. In domestic pets such as cats and dogs, worms are the biggest concern.
What are parasitic worms?
Parasitic worms live inside of their host, normally in the digestive or respiratory system. Common parasite worms in dogs include tape worm, ring worm, round worm, whip worm and heart worm. Each are different physically and have differing effects on their host. They are normally picked up through spoiled or uncooked meat, faeces, carcasses or by contact with other animals carrying parasites.
How do you know if your dog has worms?
- Weight loss
- Dull coat
- Worms in the stool
- ‘Scooting’ or other signs of discomfort around the back passage
Unfortunately, children can pick up parasites. Children can get infected when your pet dog licks their faces and transfers the larvae through the mouth or even in the pores of their skin. Children and dogs are often inseparable and sometimes the contact may be too close.
Fleas can also get into their fingernails and travel all the way around and all throughout their bodies. The worse thing is, sometimes, you can’t find any symptoms that are identifiable to the naked eye which is why it is recommended dog owners treat their dog preventatively regularly with a good dog flea treatment.
Look out for signs of itchiness, irritation, weight loss, and general malaise in your children and always ensure that your pet is treated for parasites.