parasite prevention for dogs

Keeping Your Dog Healthy: Year-Round Parasite Prevention for Dogs

A parasite is an organism that lives in another organism, called the host. For the purpose of this article, the host is the dog. Many times the parasite requires the dog to live and can cause harm to the dog.

There are many types of parasites that can affect dogs including ones that live on or in the skin, in the gastrointestinal tract, or in the blood.

Types of Dog Parasites (Intestinal, Fleas, Ticks, Heartworms)

Common canine parasites include the following:

Intestinal Parasites




Parasite Prevention for Dogs

While parasitic infections can be treated, prevention is better. Parasite prevention is important for the health, wellbeing, and comfort of your dog.

Parasite prevention tips include:

Not all parasitic diseases can be prevented but many can be treated. Mites are parasites that can cause serious illness in your dog. For more information, see Ear Mites in Dogs, Sarcoptic Mange, Demodicosis, and Cheyletiellosis.

Frequency of Parasite Prevention Recommendations

Depending on your area of the country, parasite prevention recommendations vary from monthly year-round to monthly only during the summer months. This is dependent on the weather and climate in your area.

The recommendations for parasite prevention have changed over the past decade. A few years ago, parasite prevention recommendations in the Midwest part of the United States were to keep your dog on prevention medications from March until December and off during the winter. Based on the fact that dogs are both indoors and outdoors, fleas do not die off in the house in the winter, and ticks can survive the winter, the current recommendation is for year-round parasite control. If you have questions about current recommendations in your area, please discuss this with your veterinarian.

How To Best Avoid Your Dog Attracting Parasites

There are things you can do to prevent parasites in your dog. The mainstay of prevention is to provide your dog with flea, tick, and heartworm prevention medications on a monthly basis or as recommended by the specific product. Vaccination for Lyme disease can also be helpful if you live in a high-risk area. Careful monitoring for fleas and ticks is important as you interact with your pet every day.

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