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How to Prevent Parasites in Dogs and Cats

Large dog sniffing around in a muddy puddle.

If your pet frequently goes outside and enjoys the freedom to roam, make sure you are doing everything you can to prevent intestinal parasites, or "worms" in your pet. Common parasites found in cats and dogs include:

  • Roundworms
  • Hookworms
  • Whipworms
  • Tapeworms

Common Types of Pet Parasites

Here are some common types of pet parasites.

Roundworms

Roundworm is usually contracted by young puppies or kittens when the animal comes into contact with roundworm eggs on the animal's mother or from another animal. Roundworms usually cause diarrhea, vomiting, and a distended stomach in young pets.

Hookworms

Hookworms are bloodsuckers and can pose a real threat to puppies and kittens. Hookworms can be contracted by ingestion, through skin contact or from the animal's mother before birth. Hookworms can cause severe blood loss as well as diarrhea. Humans can also contract hookworm.

Whipworm

Dogs and cats come into contact with whipworm by ingesting whipworm eggs while grooming. Whipworm can cause bloody diarrhea and should be treated as quickly as possible with a pet dewormer.

Tapeworms

Tapeworms can live inside fleas or other small animals such as rodents and rabbits. When your pet eats fleas or animals that have been infected with tapeworm, the animal can also become infected. Tapeworm symptoms may not be as noticeable as some other types of worms and usually manifest as visible white worms the size of rice grains that appear around the animals rear end, in the animal's stool or around your animal's bed.

How to Diagnose Intestinal Worms in your Pet

Your veterinarian can usually provide you with a deworming schedule that will prevent worms in a cat or dog before they become a problem. However, if your pet has any of the following symptoms, it could mean that your pet has become infected with worms once again, which is not unusual.Cat relaxing on benchCats and dogs like to roam around in the woods, in creeks or streams, and where other animals have left droppings or carcasses. Here are common symptoms of intestinal worms in dogs or cats:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody stools
  • Distended stomach, or a "pot-belly" appearance

How to Protect your Pet from Intestinal Worms

Dewormers containing piperazine or pyrantel are effective at killing hookworms and roundworms. Visit your local Tractor Supply Co. store to ask an expert team member about deworming your dog or cat.

To treat whipworm or tapeworm in your dog or cat, you will need to get a dewormer that contains fenbendazole and praziquantel from your veterinarian.

Treat intestinal worms in your pet quickly to reduce discomfort in your dog or cat and to reduce the risk of your pet infecting another animal or a human.