Preventing Parasites: Top Tips for Staying Safe

Written by Canadian Animal Health Institute

Contrary to popular belief, your pet doesn’t need to come in contact with other animals to pick up parasites. The most common places that pets come in contact with parasites is close to home — in your garden, the local dog park, or even on your neighbourhood walk.

Zoonosis is a technical term for an infectious disease which can be transmitted from animals to humans. There are a number of parasitic zoonoses, including several that pets can carry. These include cat scratch fever, roundworms and hookworms to name a few.

As it can be difficult to know when your pet has parasites — often not showing obvious signs until a heavy burden is present — prevention is best medicine. Speak to your veterinary team to better understand parasite risks in your area.

Our top tips for preventing parasites:

Maintain Regular Veterinary Care! The clinic team is your best source of pet parasite advice.

Pick up Poop Promptly! Ideally done daily, clean-up reduces environmental contamination with worm eggs, some of which can be extremely hardy even in our harsh Canadian climate!

Wash your Hands! Practicing good hygiene is critical in preventing transmission of infections. Coach children to always wash their hands after playing with pets. Everyone should head to the sink right after gardening or playing outside.

Practice Prevention! Once established, parasites can be hard to get rid of, so whenever possible stop them from establishing their home in your home. For example, 95% of flea populations are immature stages living in nooks and crannies around your house.

Stick to a Schedule! Whatever parasite prevention protocol you decide on in conjunction with your veterinarian, set reminders to prevent missing a dose.

Tailor your Treatment! There are many effective products available, some of which kill numerous parasites with a single dose. Heartworm disease prevention is often combined with deworming medication. Less medications to remember while saving money? Yes, please!

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