Bugs and Critters Oh My! Parasites and your Dog

Last week in our blogpost, Retractable Leashes, we made mention that one excellent reason to keep puppy by your side while out walking is to avoid the temptation of puppy to find “goodies” to nibble on without your permission and before you can stop it. You know, things that may seem tasty to puppy but disgusting to us, like (ahem) “kitty roca,” dead rodents or birds, or rotting food. These types of things can cause disease and infestation,because all can be carriers and sites of parasites. At some point in your dog’s life, they will need help getting rid of the infestation, no matter how vigilant we are as puppy parents. Just think of it as a child’s first year at kindergarten or preschool, and the myriad of viruses and rashes that make it back home due to the exposure to lots and lots of other kids. It’s a normal and natural part of raising a dog. 

Here are some basics to keep in mind for managing parasites:

  • Parasites are organisms that feed off and live on a host, animal or human. 
  • Parasites are part of  owning an animal and are easily treated if your dog is infected.  
  • Parasites are both external (earmites, fleas, ringworm, ticks) and internal (roundworm, tapeworm, hookworm) and can be passed on to humans as well. 
  • Parasites and disease can be found in soil, which is easily passed on during puppy’s exploratory mouthing stage of development.
  • Parasites are microscopic and not visible to the human eye, they can be tracked indoors on shoes, other animals and be transferred to puppies who haven't been outdoors, too. 
  • Puppies are most vulnerable to parasites during times of transition, as stress can cause parasites to become active.  Transitions are a time when puppies immune systems are in the process of reestablishing an equilibrium and building up their tolerance accordingly. 
  • Get to know what parasites are common in your area. Different geographical areas and environments have different parasites.  It takes time for puppies to adjust to the new environment and build up tolerance to it's particular parasites.  A new puppy leaving our home and going across the country, or to the coastal areas of the PNW will be exposed to different parasites than we have in our area and will need to build up a tolerance.  
     For instance, where we live we do not have Giardia, earmites, or fleas,  but coccidia and ticks are a common concern.  
     Families on the west side or near the coast will need to be aware of fleas, Giardia and ear mites as these are common in    wetter climates. 
  • Animals can also be carriers of parasites and be non-symptomatic.  That means they can pass parasites to a new puppy who will become symptomatic while the carrier is not.  

An important thing to remember is that a healthy dog who has a well balanced diet and a strong immune system is less likely to be affected by the complications of parasites. One of our tenets at Habibi Bears is to raise and provide our dogs the most natural rearing possible, with the minimum of chemical and pharmaceutical intervention, which in turn, strengthens the hardiness of puppy’s ability to fight off diseases naturally. We’ve read countless articles, talked to many professionals, and through over thirty years of experience, have developed a good system to combat parasites and their subsequent diseases. There are many wonderful natural homeopathic remedies that we recommend to support your puppy’s wellness and well-being that you can access through our website’s §§[ Insert Link : Natural Rearing ]§§ page and its links to the specific products that we use. 

The more we discuss and educate ourselves on how best to deal with the nuisance of parasites, the more we can normalize the occurrence and lessen the worry of this very common problem.  Dogs are on the ground, picking and carrying things off the ground, and rolling in dirt. Parasites….they’re going to happen! The key thing is not to panic and bombard your dog with dangerous chemicals which could impact them for life. With tapping into our experience and knowledge, you can take a healthier, more holistic approach which is better in the long run for you and your pup.