What can you give a dog for parasites? Essential Tips

Signs Of A Parasite In Your Dog

Here are some things to watch for:

  • Constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, gas
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Drinking less water or dehydration
  • Intestinal worms are more common in our canine companions than you may think. A variety of foods, from kefir to oats, can help keep these unwanted parasites at bay.

    Worms are incredibly common in the intestinal tracts of our dogs, especially when they’re puppies. Some of the symptoms caused by these parasites include diarrhea, weight loss, inappetence, vomiting, lethargy, and a dull coat. This article presents a list of whole foods, along with a couple of supplements, that can help your dog “ward off worms.”


    Often referred to as the “grain of life,” kefir is a fermented milk product that has a very long history. Kefir grains consist of casein (protein) and gelatinous colonies of microorganisms that are grown together. One absolutely amazing thing about kefir grains is that the culture is a living organism with an indefinite lifespan, so you can use the grains over and over again. Packed with probiotics, this whole food has anti-fungal properties, helps relieve flatulence, kills yeast — and has anti-parasitic properties. You may be surprised to learn that kefir contains ten strains of beneficial bacteria.

    It’s easy to make your own kefir:

  • Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of kefir grains in a sterilized glass jar. Large mason jars work well.
  • Add 2 cups of fresh milk. Try goat or sheep milk; you can even use almond or coconut milk. Room temperature works best.
  • Gently stir with a wooden spoon
  • Cover the jar with cheesecloth or a tea towel, then place the jar somewhere out of direct sunlight (e.g. a cupboard).
  • Leave the kefir grains and milk to ferment for at least 24 hours, but no more than 48 hours.
  • Pour the contents of the glass jar into a strainer.
  • The final step is to put your strained grains into a new sterilized jar, so you are all set to begin to make your next batch of kefir. The grains can be rested in the refrigerator for up to seven days, covered in milk or yogurt. If you want to wait longer before making a new batch of kefir, simply add fresh milk or yogurt to your kefir grains.
  • Kefir is a great topper for any meal. It provides the gastrointestinal tract with beneficial bacteria, and contains not only probiotics, but vitamins, amino acids, and natural enzymes to help keep worms at bay. Begin with 1 teaspoon for small dogs, 2 teaspoons for medium-sized dogs, and 1 tablespoon for large dogs.

    Can You Get Worms from Your Pet?

    Intestinal parasites are basically mostly worms that live in dogs intestinal tracts. For instance, theres a roundworm and hookworm that live in the stomach and the small intestines of dogs, and there are tapeworms that live in the large intestines of dogs. There are intestinal parasites that are not worms, such as coccidia and Giardia. Theyre one-cell organisms that are also considered parasites in the intestinal tract.

    Yes, those are heartworms. They actually are worms. They get injected from a mosquito bite and then they get under the dogs skin, they work their way into the bloodstream, and get all the way to the dogs heart and grow into six-inch to 12-inch-long intestinal worms. They kind of look like spaghetti.

    The most common external parasites we see in dogs, particularly here in Maryland, are fleas. Fleas are large enough that you can see them with the naked eye. Theyre flat and long, and they crawl through the hair coat.

    Ticks are a little larger than a flea, and are much easier to see, especially in a short-coated dog like Georgia here. They like to get places where they can suck blood from the dog, so they like to get on ears and faces, but they could be found anywhere on the dog.

    As soon as you see them. If you see a flea, call us. If you see a tick, call us. If your dogs itching a lot like it might have mites on it. Thats the thing thats confusing to people at home. The dog is scratching, and is it parasites? Is it an allergy? So as soon as you decide that they have an issue, by all means, bring them in, and well sort it out and figure out whats wrong with them.

    If its intestinal parasites, we ask you to bring a stool sample. And if you dont have a stool sample, we can acquire one for you. If we think were looking for heartworms, were going to take a blood sample from their leg and look at that under the microscope or send it out for external lab for testing. And if they are topical parasites, we can typically just see them.

    Ringworm is actually a fungus. It just has a misnomer that they call it a worm. It is an external skin issue though.

    Roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms are all in the gastrointestinal system. And they generally get the nutrition from your dog first, and your dog gets the leftover nutrition. So those dogs may be unthrifty, may not be gaining weight, and/or they may have bloody stools. So that would be a very unhealthy situation.

    As for the importance of early detection, consider fleas and ticks. Fleas can cause flea allergy dermatitis. Fleas can jump off of one animal onto another animal. They can also jump off of a dog and actually bite people. And so of course, we want to get that taken care of right away.

    Ticks are particularly problematic because they can transmit a lot of diseases. The deer tick can transmit Lyme disease. Some of the other ticks can transmit Ehrlichia, anaplasmosis, Babesia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever. They all carry diseases, so its very important that we find it out right away and take care of it.

    The other thing I was going to say, though, is instead of just talking about treating all these intestinal parasites and the external parasites and ear parasites, like ear mites, we really, for the most part, we want to prevent them. So we would like it if you would bring your dog in as a puppy or an adult – when you get them. We make sure that theyre negative to start with and then get them on some preventatives so that they wont get intestinal parasites or heartworms or fleas or ticks. Thats the ability that we have right now, preventive medicine, so our dogs live healthier lives.

    If you still have other questions and youd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (410) 461-2400, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and well get back to you as fast as we can.

    It depends on which parasite youre talking about. Suppose its fleas, for sure. Any of the animals, including people, can get fleas on them. Ticks can spread from cats to dogs to people. Heartworms are generally transmitted from dog to dog, and its always through a mosquito. So one dog cant give another dog heartworms unless, of course, it went through a mosquito first. Ringworm can be transmitted from one to the next. Mites (like ear mites) can go from one pet to the next. So its vital that we figure this out right away, so we dont spread it throughout the family.

    If your dog has fleas, they can carry them in the house, and the fleas might bite you as well. Once a tick comes in on a dog, it can crawl on people as well. There have been perhaps a few instances of people getting heartworms from mosquitoes—from a dog that has it biting a person. Those are the most common things I think you would see.

    Absolutely. Im glad you asked. The most important thing we do is, especially when dogs are puppies—at eight, 10, 12 weeks of age—we get them on a preventative to avoid getting roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tape rooms, giardia, coccidia, fleas, and ticks. We can prevent all of those things by making sure that theyre negative to start with and then putting them on medications to prevent them from getting those diseases.

    Theyre never going to go away on their own. Fleas are just going to bite you and your dog. Theyre going to replicate. Theyre going to lay eggs. Theyre going to lay eggs on the dogs and in the environment. Theyre going to continue to replicate in your home. Ticks may die off and eventually fall off in the environment, but then theyre ready to get on another person. Do not rely on the weather or anything else to get rid of them. Youre going to need to get some help.

    If its intestinal parasites, theres going to be a medication that we give orally that will kill that roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, or tapeworm. Most of those have to be repeated in two to three weeks to break the life cycle so that we dont just get it again from the same source. There is a heartworm preventative. Heartworm preventive is a medication you take once a month to prevent them from getting heartworms when they get bitten by a mosquito. There is a treatment for heartworm disease. Its a serious medication that we have to use. The dogs feel terrible. Its a whole long protocol that takes several months to do. So you just want to prevent it. You dont want to go down the road of having to treat for heartworm disease, but it is available if you need to.

    You can. OTC products are probably safe, but were not sure theyre very effective. The medications that we use here—predominantly Interceptor, Credelio, and Bravecto—are medications that have had an extreme amount of research and safety studies and gone through the process of going through the FDA to ensure they are effective. Thats the products that I would use.

    If you want to treat intestinal parasites, do things like making sure that you pick up the feces in your dogs yard so that if they did have a parasite that they dont reinfest themselves. Make sure that they dont get into other dogs’ feces, particularly at a dog park. As far as fleas and ticks, you want to use your preventives, but you want to keep your dog nicely groomed, and check on him a lot. Ensure that even when you have your preventatives, you look at them from time to time and make sure that they dont have any parasites on them.

    One way to avoid ticks is not going in the areas where tall grass is because thats where the ticks are. You want to be careful that you just avoid those areas whenever ticks are out, which in Maryland is usually during the spring, the summer, the fall, and early winter, so almost all of the months of the year in Maryland.

    If you still have other questions and youd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (410) 461-2400, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and well get back to you as fast as we can. Service Category: