Common Parasites of the Dog

Common Parasites of the Dog

With the changing seasons comes the changing in our furry friends. With this change in weather, it is important to be aware of what parasites are common during these times. Many dog owners know that ticks and fleas can affect their beloved pets, but did you know there are other critters that get into your pup? Parasites like hookworm eggs of roundworms can be found in soil or water near your home. It's important to keep an eye on your canine companion for any signs of illness so they can get treated early!



Fleas and ticks are very common parasites that affect dogs. When the seasons change, their activity does as well. Fleas can be found all year long in warmer climates, but they're most active during the summer months.  Winter also brings a spike of flea eggs from animals seeking shelter from harsh weather conditions. The

How do dogs get fleas?

A dog can get fleas from being in an area that has been exposed to flea eggs, larvae, or adult parasites. Fleas are able to jump over six inches, so they can easily hop onto your pet.

What signs should I watch for?

If you notice the following signs, it's best to see your veterinarian:

Anaemia due to heavy infestation and blood loss Licking and biting at skin Intense itching Hair loss Irritability Tense abdomen Lethargy Muscle twitching Loss of appetite Ocular (eye) irritation Scratching at ears or face Evidence of flea dirt (dark specks that look similar to ground pepper)



There are two types of ticks that are common in dogs. These are the American dog tick and the brown dog tick.  The brown dog tick is more prevalent in warmer seasons due to their survival making it harder for them to survive the winter months. They prefer temperatures around 85 degrees Fahrenheit with moderate humidity. The American dog tick is a hardier parasite and can survive the colder environment

How do dogs get ticks?

These parasites are most commonly found in tall grassy areas where the pets have been running around. Ticks will burrow into your pet's skin to feed on their blood. If they're not removed, they'll remain on the host once fully grown.

What signs should I watch for?

There are a few warning signs to look out for if you suspect your dog has ticks: Anal itching Swollen lymph nodes Intense scratching Red, irritated skin Loss of appetite Fever Muscle weakness Seizures Lethargy Vomiting Congestion or runny nose Eye irritation Anaemia

Roundworms and Hookworms

Roundworms and Hookworms

Hookworms are parasites that can be found in dogs' stomachs. They attach easily to the lining of the intestines and feed on blood, which causes anaemia. This parasite can be transferred from mother dogs to puppies during their first few weeks of development; they're often passed through birthing or nursing.  Because hookworm eggs are resistant to drying out, they can become airborne and travel around your home through dust particles. This leads them into water sources like ponds, rivers, or creeks where dogs may walk around wading without knowing what dangers might lay hidden in the mud.

What signs should I watch for?

Check under your dog's tail for bleeding caused by the presence of nematodes. If you notice these symptoms, it's best to see your veterinarian immediately: Bloody stool Lethargy Loss of appetite Vomiting Weakness Loss of coordination Lack of energy Depression Weight loss.

Hookworms are common in dogs, roundworms are not. They can be contracted through ingesting infected animals or their eggs via raw meat. Once they're inside your dog's body, they will grow up to 12 inches in length and cause digestive issues once fully grown.

How do dogs get roundworms?

Roundworm infection occurs when a dog ingests the egg form of this parasite. The larvae then hatch into an immature worm that travels throughout the walls of the small intestine causing irritation and inflammation. As time passes, this worm matures and attach itself back to the wall of the small intestine where it can live for up to three years until being defecated out in your pet's faeces. What signs should I watch for?

Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal parasites are the result of ingesting eggs or larvae in your pet's stool. You can prevent this from occurring by making sure to keep your yard clean and free from animal waste. If you suspect that your dog has intestinal parasites, it's time to make an appointment with your veterinarian.

How do dogs get intestinal parasites?

Dogs can get these parasites by ingesting eggs or larvae in their faeces.  These parasites live inside the host and they're found in the small intestines of mammals. Some common signs of intestinal parasites include: Vomiting Diarrhoea Low energy Lethargy Nausea Loss of appetite Abdominal pain Dehydration Malnourishment

Do dogs get gastrointestinal parasites?

If your dog ingests an infected animal's faeces, they could contract the parasite. Eggs of these worms are shed in their stool and can become airborne if not cleaned up early enough. These eggs are very hardy and can survive for years until being picked up by another animal or human who comes into direct contact with them. They'll then develop into larvae that migrate to the small intestines where they feed on organ tissues, leading to problems such as irritation, nausea, weight loss, and more serious conditions caused by malnutrition.

What signs should I watch for?

Keep a close eye out for these symptoms if you suspect your pet has intestinal parasites: Diarrhoea Weight loss Excessive urination do I treat intestinal parasites?

Your veterinarian will be able to do a stool analysis and prescribe medication that's best suited for your dog. You can also purchase worming treatments from pet stores and online sources as another way of killing these parasites.

Bacteria and Protozoa

Bacteria and Protozoa

There are numerous causes of ear infections in dogs, including Bacteria Parasites Yeasts Malassezia Dermatitis Allergies Genetics Ear mites Foreign bodies Fungus Tumours Nutrition Excessive wax or debris Cholesteatoma Most cases will involve an infection using one or more bacteria combined with yeast (Malassezia). These types of infections often occur due to poor grooming habits or high amounts of moisture. Dogs who swim frequently do I treat ear infections in dogs?

You should clean your dog's ears often and refrain from letting them get too wet. If you're not sure how to properly do this, then it would be best to consult a veterinary professional. Do not attempt treatment if you don't know what you're doing because you could make the situation worse by spreading bacteria and yeast further inside of your pet's ear.

Ringworm fungi

Ringworm fungi

Ringworm Fungi can be found nearly anywhere. You may have seen these fungi as a white or grey patch on grass, fences, shoes, and so on. They prefer damp places but sometimes they can grow inside your home if exposed to enough humidity.

Signs of ringworm With Ringworm Fungi, you'll likely see bald patches on the skin. These areas will contain dark-brown to black spores that resemble tiny dots surrounding the infection site; each dot represents an individual spore (these spores are microscopic). If left untreated, these lesions can spread all over your dog's body including their face and genitals where it could be dangerous for them to scratch at because this would cause them to ingest the through their mouth.

Here are some tips that you can follow to help prevent your dog from developing ear infections: Make sure they have fresh water available at all times. Never allow them to swim in unclean water. Brush their hair daily and remove any dirt or debris from the fur around their ears. Only clean when necessary and never use cotton swabs or other similar objects around the ear canal because this could cause irreparable damage.


Whipworms can be found in the large intestine and cause problems such as Diarrhoea Vomiting Worms in poo Loss of appetite Restlessness Lethargy Weakness Depression Heartworm signs This condition is often diagnosed through stool analysis.

Treatment for whipworm infections To treat whipworms, your veterinarian will use several different types of medication including anthelmintics (to kill parasites), anti-diarrhoeal medications, fluids, vitamins etc. If there are many worms infecting your pet then they may have to stay at the veterinary clinic until they're recovered enough to go home with you.

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is a very serious condition that affects dogs and other types of pets. The reason it's so dangerous is that if left untreated, this condition will eventually lead to heart failure (the heart can't pump blood as effectively or as strongly as it should). Signs you need to watch for include:

  1. Lethargy
  2. coughing
  3. panting
  4. loss of appetite
  5. drowsiness
  6. difficulty breathing
  7. Loss of coordination
  8. Muscle weakness

Seizures Death Heartworms can be difficult to spot but here are some signs you may notice: Swollen abdomen Loss of appetite Excessive thirst Vomiting Diarrhoea Weight loss Tiredness Nausea Joint pain Decreased activity due to fatigue Sudden blindness Itching A type of worm Dirofilaria immworm disease prevention You can take certain steps to prevent your dog from becoming infected with heartworms:

Take them to the veterinarian for a Heartworm test every year to make sure they've been properly vaccinated (if they haven't as puppies). The inexpensive Heartworm medication is generally administered through monthly oral medication. If you notice any of the signs listed above, bring your pet in for an examination as soon as possible.

Your veterinarian will use several different types of medication including anthelmintics (to kill parasites), anti-diarrhoeal medications, fluids, vitamins etc. If there are many worms infecting your pet then they may have to stay at the veterinary clinic until they're recovered enough to go home with you.

How do dogs get heartworms?

In order to contract this parasite, a mosquito carrying the larvae must bite your pet. Once this occurs, it's only a matter of time before the parasites develop inside your pooch's heart and lungs. You can prevent this from happening by keeping your pet safe from mosquitoes.

What signs should I watch for?

The most common symptoms include: Shortness of breath Loss of energy Inability to exercise Lethargy Chronic cough Wheezing Discomfort when breathing Slow heart rate

Ear Mites and Ear Infections

Ear Mites and Ear Infections

Another way that dogs get ear mites is through the transfer of larvae from their mother's belly.  Ear mites live and breed in the ears and they cause intense itching and discomfort for your dog.

How do dogs get ear mites?

Dogs usually get this parasite through direct contact with another infected animal or by ingesting larvae that were transferred from the mother's belly. It's very easy for these parasites to transfer from one pooch to another because ear mites can survive outside the host.

What signs should I watch for?

The primary symptoms of ear mites include Ear scratching Ear inflammation Scratching at their face Red, irritated skin Head shaking Pus-filled ears Foul odour Loss of hair The presence of dark, crusty material in your pet's ears.


Parasites are a common problem for dog owners, and understanding the different types of parasites that your pet may be vulnerable to is necessary if you want to keep them healthy. Some of these include fleas, ticks, ringworm fungi, roundworms, whipworms, tapeworms and even heartworms. Keep an eye out for any unusual behaviour in your pup as this can often indicate they have picked up one or more infectious agents from their environment. Ringworm fungus specifically thrives during hot months so it’s important to take precautions against mosquitoes that carry the disease into our homes where dogs then catch it while exploring on their own. One way to prevent all sorts of health issues with both cats and dogs would be by using natural and organic pest and parasite control products that can be safely used in the home and that will not cause unnecessary harm to our pets.

The information covered within this article is to use as knowledge, not to be copied verbatim. This information may contain errors or inaccuracies - if you use it, you do so at your own risk


Read more: Fleas on Pets: Q&A

Fleas on Dogs: What Should Owners Do?

Does Peppermint Oil Kill Fleas?

How to Give a Flea Bath to Your Dog?

How to Get Rid of Fleas

Does Tea Tree Oil Kill Fleas?

What Do Flea Eggs Look Like and How Do You Get Rid of Them?

8 Solutions to Avoid Fleas in Your Home

Diatomaceous Earth for Flea Control

How to Remove a Tick From a Dog

Fleas in Puppies and Dogs

8 Best Flea Treatment for Dogs

What Kills Fleas On Dogs Instantly?

How to Treat Fleas on Dog at Home

Are Flea Collars Safe for Dogs?

How Flea Collar Works?

Effectiveness Of Flea Collars

Dog Care: 10 Tips to Keep Your Pooch Happy

Are Flea Collars Safe For Humans?

Why Do Dogs Howl at Sirens?

Ticks on Dogs: Q&A

How Long Does It Take For a Flea Collar To Work?

Why Do Dogs Roll in the Grass

Does Your Dog Have a Flea Allergy?

Lyme Disease in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatment