7 of the Most Common Dog Parasites (And How to Prevent Them)

Dogs are very vulnerable to parasites.Click here for a list of some of the most common dog parasites and how to prevent them.

Unfortunately, most pet owners will have to deal with their pet having parasites at some point during their pet’s life. This is often more true for dogs than any other pet because parasites are often picked up outdoors.

No pet owner wants to face the thought of parasites and the issues that come along with them. However, dealing with the issues head-on and taking preventative measures are the best ways to tackle the problem.

Take a look at some common dog parasites and how to get rid of them.

Intestinal Worms

Intestinal worms can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. Minor infections can come with few to no symptoms at all. However, more severe infections will result in symptoms like diarrhea, loss of appetite and weight, blood in stool and even anemia.

Worms often come in the form of hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms. They are all tiny parasites that can have a big effect on your dog’s health.

Preventing and treating worms

The best prevention of intestinal worms for your dog is staying away from other pets that are infected. The problem is, it’s difficult to distinguish between healthy pets and pets with worms just be looking.

Tapeworms are often spread by fleas, so it’s vital that you keep your dog up to date with flea protection. There are also some preventative treatments that can be given to your dog to protect against heartworm and roundworms.

If your dog does happen to contract worms, he’ll need to visit the vet. You’ll be given a dewormer to give to your dog and your vet will need to check whether any larvae survived during the next check-up.

Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks are the most commonly known parasites for dogs. It is recommended that dogs receive flea treatment at least once a month. Fleas are small, sometimes difficult to see, parasites that feed on the blood of pets.

Ticks aren’t the same as fleas. They are arachnids that also feed on blood but they tend to bury themselves in one spot, instead of quickly move around like fleas. Ticks can carry and transmit multiple serious diseases.

Preventing and treating fleas and ticks

The good news is, it’s possible to prevent and treat fleas and ticks in a similar way. Most pet owners opt for using a flea prevention spot-on treatment which works just as well for ticks.

Some owners choose to put flea collars on their dogs so they’re constantly protected. It’s also important to try and avoid walking your dog in areas with long grass, heavy bushes or woodland.

If you do spot fleas on your dog, you’ll need to work hard to get rid of them. Fleas and their eggs can spread quickly and often invest homes as well as pets. Along with treating your dog, you’ll also need to clean toys and bedding, clean floor areas where your dog is regularly and spray outdoors.

You can remove ticks by yourself at home. Simply take a pair of tweezers and pluck the tick from your dog’s skin. If you have any concerns, your vet can test your dog for any transmitted diseases.


Toxoplasmosis is more common in cats because they are able to host the parasite for its full life cycle. However, that doesn’t mean that dogs can’t be infected. Toxoplasmosis is a microscopic parasite that can be difficult to diagnose.

Prevention and treatment of Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis can be picked up from raw or undercooked meat. If your dog is on a raw meat diet, you should be aware that this is possible. If you suspect toxoplasmosis in your dog, it can be treated with a course of antibiotics from your vet.

Ear Mites

Ear mites are very uncomfortable for your dog. They tend to settle in a dog’s ears and then breed as soon as they are comfortable. If they are not treated and removed, the problem can get out of hand quickly.

Prevention and treatment of Ear Mites

The best way to prevent ear mites is to continuously check your dog’s ears and clean them regularly. This is especially true for dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors or venture into wooded areas.

If you find that your dog has ear mites, you’ll need to visit your vet to get a topical lotion. Your dog’s ear will need to be cleaned with this topical lotion multiple times and your vet may recommend follow-up treatments, depending on the severity of the case.


Dogs can become infected with heartworms if they are bitten by mosquitos. Heartworms are serious parasites that can have a terrible effect on your dog’s health.

Preventing and treating heartworms

It’s usually much easier to prevent heartworms than it is to treat it, which makes prevention all the more important. You can prevent heartworms with a simple monthly dosage that often comes in the form of small pet chews.

Treatment for heartworms can be extremely difficult and the dog is likely to have a hard time getting through it. Antibiotics are usually administered but your dog won’t be able to be as active as usual because of the weight of the dead worms.

Dog Parasites: Protecting Your Canine Friend

Although dog parasites are bad news for dog owners, it’s even worse for our canine friends. No dog owner wants to see their beloved pet suffer when it could have been prevented.

Take a look at some great tips on natural ways to get rid of fleas if they enter your home.