Parasites in Pets: Most Common Parasites in Pets and Prevention Tips

Parasites in Pets

With the arrival of summer and the consequent rise in temperatures, we find ourselves relishing the opportunity to spend more quality time outdoors alongside our loved ones, including our cherished pets. However, it’s crucial to recognize that pet parasites also thrive during this season, taking advantage of the mild weather and increased host activity.

These parasites emerge from their winter sanctuaries to prey upon your furry companion. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that your pet remains vulnerable to parasitic diseases even in the winter. Despite the seemingly harsh conditions outdoors, the interior of your home provides an ideal refuge for insects, allowing them to hide and occasionally feed on your pet. To safeguard your human and animal family members from fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and intestinal parasites, consider implementing the following guidelines of Parliament Animal Hospital.

What are the most common parasites in pets?

Pets, our beloved companions, are not immune to parasites that can hitch a ride and wreak havoc on their health. From microscopic nuisances to larger threats, let’s delve into the most common parasites in pets in detail:

Parasites in Pets signs


Fleas can cause various reactions in dogs. Some may exhibit discomfort by constantly scratching, rubbing, or biting their skin, while others might not show any noticeable symptoms. It’s possible to spot adult fleas directly on your pet’s skin, or you may come across tiny black dots, known as flea dirt, on your pet’s skin or bedding.

Apart from physical irritation, fleas can also transmit infectious diseases, leading to diverse symptoms such as reduced energy levels or a loss of appetite. Additionally, the saliva of fleas is a common trigger for a prevalent allergic skin condition found in dogs and cats, known as flea allergy dermatitis. This condition results in itchy and scabby patches of hair loss on the affected animal.


Ticks employ a clever strategy to go unnoticed by their hosts by injecting a small amount of anesthetic when they bite. It can often lead to their presence being overlooked. Once attached, they create a crusty, swollen sore that takes around a week to heal, even if properly removed. Similar to fleas, the mere presence of a tick on your pet is not usually a concern.

However, tick bites can be dangerous as they can potentially transmit serious illnesses like Lyme disease. While tick preventives are generally effective at killing ticks before they stay attached long enough to transmit diseases, it’s important to note that they may not repel ticks entirely.

If your pet is heavily exposed to ticks, you might still find these parasites on them, even if you consistently use a reliable preventive. Therefore, after spending time outdoors or with other animals, it is essential to thoroughly check your pet’s skin to promptly remove any ticks you may come across.


Detecting lice can be challenging until a full-blown infestation has occurred. Your pet may exhibit heightened scratching, rubbing, or skin itching. If you closely observe your pet’s fur near the skin, you might be able to spot lice in motion near the hair shafts. Itchy patches of hair loss are a common occurrence when dealing with lice, resembling the symptoms caused by other external parasites.


Worms have adapted to remain inconspicuous and avoid causing noticeable signs of illness in their hosts. As a result, most of the time, there are no apparent symptoms associated with worms. Due to their prevalence in the environment, the likelihood of exposure is high. While some worms may be visible to the naked eye, the eggs they release in the stool are microscopic.

Visible adult worms typically appear in the stool or vomit only when the infestation is severe, so the absence of seeing worms does not rule out their presence. However, tapeworms are an exception, as they pass visible egg packets resembling rice grains or small larvae. When worms cause symptoms, you may observe diarrhea, a distended abdomen, a deteriorated hair coat, or weight loss. Puppies and kittens are more susceptible to worm infestations, and these infections can pose a greater risk of severe illness or even anemia in young animals.

How to prevent parasites in your pet

To effectively prevent parasite infestations in your pet, various methods are available, each with varying levels of effectiveness. Seeking advice from a licensed online veterinarian can assist you in determining the most suitable parasite preventives for your specific situation, enabling you to formulate the best plan for your pet. Typically, veterinarian-prescribed oral or topical medications that target multiple parasites simultaneously are the most beneficial, providing your pet with a wider range of protection. Alongside the recommended medications, implementing physical measures can greatly contribute to preventing parasite transmission. It is advisable to combine these physical and environmental controls with preventive medications. Consider the following strategies:

  1. Schedule regular check-ups for your cat with your veterinarian at least once a year.
  2. Whenever you groom your dog or cat or return from areas with potential external parasites, thoroughly inspect for fleas, ticks, and any irregularities in their coat.
  3. If your pet excessively scratches, chews, licks its coat, persistently shakes its head, or scratches its ears, consult your veterinarian.
  4. Periodically conduct heartworm tests.
  5. Provide your pets with cooked or prepared food (avoid raw meat) and fresh, drinkable water.
  6. Conduct fecal examinations 2 to 4 times in the first year of life and 1 to 2 times annually for adult pets, considering their health and lifestyle factors.
  7. Commence parasite treatment for puppies and kittens from two weeks of age, repeating every two weeks until eight weeks old, followed by monthly treatments as preventive measures.
  8. Deworm nursing mothers, along with their puppies or kittens.

If you choose not to administer year-round parasite prevention for your pet, the following precautions should be taken:

  1. Deworm kittens biweekly from 2-8 weeks old and then monthly until they reach six months of age.
  2. Have fecal exams conducted 2 to 4 times a year for adult cats and dogs?
  3. Tailor your pet’s parasite prevention program based on the prevalence of parasites and their lifestyle factors.

Veterinary professionals base their recommendations on scientific evidence regarding safety and efficacy when considering parasite prevention. If you have concerns about the potential harm caused by common medications, it is always advisable to consult a qualified online veterinarian to develop an effective prevention plan. Relying on alternative or natural remedies over the counter can be ineffective or even hazardous for your beloved companion.

prevent Parasites in Pets

Pet Parasite Prevention in Toronto by Parliament

Our highly skilled veterinarians and dedicated staff are committed to providing top-notch care for your beloved companions. Our advanced diagnostic tools and effective treatments protect your pets from common parasites such as fleas, ticks, worms, and mites, ensuring their optimal health and well-being. We believe in educating pet owners about preventive measures and empowering them to make informed decisions for their pets’ care. When you choose Parliament Animal Hospital, you can rest assured that your furry friends are in expert hands. Your pet’s health is our priority, and we look forward to serving you with the utmost professionalism and compassion.

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