Keeping your dog / puppy healthy

Keeping your puppy healthy

Fleas and treating them

Fleas are small, reddish-brown insects that live on animals and feed off their blood. They are very common and are the most common cause of skin disease in both cats and dogs. Fleas can jump from one animal to another so if you have pets that regularly go outdoors and mix with other animals as most dogs do then there is a high probability of them picking up fleas at some point.

When the flea bites your pet in order to feed it releases a chemical that stops the blood clotting. This can sometimes cause an allergic reaction which can cause them to excessively itch or lick the area and can lead to fur loss and sore, red skin.

The best treatment is prevention and there are many treatments available via your vet or through reputable pet shops. These include shampoos, powders tablets and spot on treatments.The best treatment is prevention and there are many treatments available via your vet or through reputable pet shops. These include shampoos, powders tablets and spot on treatments.

Don’t forget to treat your home as well as the fleas can live in carpets and on soft furniture until a snack comes along! Food can be in the form of one of your pets but it can also feed on you.

Fleas can also pass on another parasite – tapeworm, so it is worth treating your dog for this at the same time.

Flea Life Cycle

Ticks and treating them

Dogs can pick up ticks in the long grass, most commonly in the spring and autumn seasons. If you take your dog walking in this environment it is essential to check them over for ticks when you arrive home, particularly long haired breeds. Run your hands over their body – ticks will appear as bumps. The sooner they can be removed the greater the chance of preventing disease and any discomfort it will cause you dog.

A tick attaches itself strongly to its dinner/host and can stay attached for several days. Your dog is unlikely to remove the tick itself even though it will become sorer over time.

Take care when attempting to remove any ticks and be careful to remove the head and jaw as well as the body. This can be done by twisting the tick making sure not to squeeze it or leave any of it behind. If the head is left attached to your dog there is a risk of serious infection or skin reaction. You can use tweezers to remove them or specially designed tick removers. Alternatively you can get treatment from your vet that kills the ticks before you remove them.

If you are concerned that your dog may have picked up a disease passed on by ticks, get advice from your vet. Ticks can cause disease by transmitting bacteria and microbes when they bite humans or animals.

Ticks Life Cycle


Your puppy should be given an all-round wormer every two weeks until they are 12 weeks old, these should then be given monthly until they are six months old. After six months the worming treatment you give will depend on the flea treatments you give your dog.

Parasite How often Treatment
Roundworm 3-6 months Milbeworm
Tapeworm 3-6 months Milbeworm
Lungworm 4 weeks Endectrid / Advocate
Hookworm 4 weeks Endectrid / Advocate
Whipworm 4 weeks Endectrid / Advocate
Heartworm 4 weeks Endectrid / Advocate
Ticks 4 weeks Endectrid / Advocate
Fleas 4 weeks Endectrid / Advocate
Ear mites 4 weeks Endectrid / Advocate
Biting Lice 4 weeks Endectrid / Advocate
Mange Mites 4 weeks Endectrid / Advocate

There are various types of parasitic worms that affect dogs which are detailed below.

Roundworm can be picked up by your dog from contaminated soil. They live in your dog’s gut, are white and round and can grow up to 15cm. Puppies are often born infected with roundworms as it can also be passed on through a mother’s milk. Often you won’t see any outward signs of infection but symptoms can include a potbelly, poor coat, diarrhoea and poor growth.

Your dog may pick up tapeworm from scavenging and ingesting an infected host. They are long and flat, growing up to 60cm and live in your dog’s small intestine. The most common intermediate host for tapeworms is the common flea. You may well not realise your dog has the infection as there are rarely outward symptoms. Problems caused by the infection may be seen in your pet scooting across the ground and possibly they may have diarrhoea or vomiting.

Worms are very common and to prevent your dog contracting the infection regular deworming should be carried out. Treatments can be purchased via your vet or over the counter.

Lungworm is another parasitic infection that affects dogs. It is transmitted through slugs and snails which can be picked up easily by dogs whilst out and about. Lungworm resides in the heart and pulmonary arteries and can be fatal for dogs. In many cases of infection no symptoms show but symptoms include coughing, tiring easily, weight loss and bleeding problems.

A full recovery is anticipated if dogs are treated early enough but prevention is the best cure. You should give your dog lungworm prevention on a monthly basis. Treatment can be purchase from you vet or through other pet suppliers.

Ringworm is not a worm but a fungal disease. It is not uncommon in dogs but it is highly contagious and can be passed on to humans.

The infection is spread through contact with ‘spores’ which are carried on the hairs of infected animals. Not all dogs will show signs of the infections but all may be carriers and can pass onto other pets in your home. Puppies are more commonly infected, with the risk also increased in sick or older animals.

The disease typically affects the face and front paws and your dog may haves sore or crusted areas here. It may also have patches of hair loss. You may notice your dog scratching and chewing at its hair which can lead to the dog getting hairballs or constipation. If you suspect your dog is suffering from ringworm take it to your vet who can prescribe drugs for the infection and topical creams for any external sores.


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