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February 2024

Dog Parasite Prevention Guide

Health & NutritionProduct Guides

Everything You Need to Know About Parasite Prevention For Dogs

Parasites are an unfortunate reality in Australia – and dog owners must be vigilant to keep their dog’s safe. With so many products on the market (all targeting different parasites across different time margins) it can be confusing to know what you should be using. Luckily, PETsmarts has put together a handy guide to demystify the process!

Types Of Parasites

First things first, we’ve got to know what we’re dealing with. There are several different types of parasites to watch out for. Here are the major ones of concern in Australia.

Ticks on Dogs

Oh, how we hate these! Ticks are a nasty, wingless, blood-sucking insect that attach themselves to your dog in search of a food source. Dr Alison Kemp from our PETstock vet team flags that paralysis ticks are of special concern, because they inject a powerful and potentially lethal neurotoxin into your dog. Bush ticks, brown ticks and cattle ticks are all also found in Australia. Eeek!

Ticks can be hard to identify as they have a different appearance before and after feeding. Prior to feeding, they will look like small brown, grey or red specks and after feeding they become engorged and will resemble swollen black dots. It’s important to check your dog all over their body after walks –paying special attention to their head and neck area. While ticks are most active in spring and summer, they are a nuisance year-round, so vigilance is important.

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If you find any of these on your dog, remove them immediately – ideally with a tick remover or with tweezers if you don’t have one.

How Do I Remove a Tick from my Dog?

What You’ll Need:

  • A jar or container to place the tick in after it has been removed.
  • Gloves.
  • Tick remover or tweezers.

What to Do:

  1. Get a friend to hold your dog to keep it steady.
  2. Use the tick remover or tweezers to grasp the tick (DO NOT squeeze) and pull it off steadily. You want to avoid doing it too quickly and breaking the tick apart, leaving the mouth on your dog.
  3. Place the tick in a jar or container to allow the vet to identify it.
  4. Clean the wound area and wash your hands as well.
  5. Take your dog to the vet for further assessment.

A Guide to Tick Parasite Prevention

Prevention is always better than cure, particularly in the case of paralysis ticks which can be fatal. There are a lot of products on the market which can make things confusing. Here’s a rundown of one’s you can use to protect your dog against ticks.

Product Protects Against Administered Regularity
Aristopet Complete Flea and Tick Flea & Tick Spot-on treatment Fortnightly for paralysis ticks, monthly for fleas and cattle ticks.
Bravecto Flea & Tick Spot-on Treatment Every Six Months
Kiltix Flea & Tick Collar 6 weeks for paralysis ticks, 5 months for cattle and bush ticks
Nexgard Flea & Tick Chew Monthly

Symptoms of Intestinal Worms in Dogs

Common symptoms of worms include:

  • Worms in faecal matter or vomit
  • Scooting on their bottom
  • Change in appetite
  • Dull coat
  • Round, bloated belly
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Lethargy

Treatment of Intestinal Worms in Dogs

Administer an intestinal worming treatment to your dog to get rid of worms. Bear in mind that to fully protect your dog, you need to give them this medication regularly to prevent future outbreaks.

'All wormers' are available in either a spot-on treatment or a tablet. They’ll protect your dog from all types of intestinal worms including roundworm, hookworm, tapeworm, and whipworm. They also keep you safe too, as intestinal worms from dogs can be transmitted to humans (that’s a hard pass from us).

A Guide to Intestinal Worm Parasite Prevention

Product Protects Against Administered Regularity
Advocate Fleas, Worms & Heartworm Spot-on Treatment Monthly
Drontal Intestinal Worms Chew Every three months unless otherwise advised by vet
HeartGard Plus Intestinal Worms & Heartworm Chew Monthly
Milbemax All Wormer Intestinal Worms & Heartworm Chew Monthly
Paragard Intestinal Worms Tablet Every three–six months unless otherwise advised by vet
Hot Tip

If your dog is over six months of age and hasn’t been administered with a heartworm preventative before, it’s recommended to test for heartworm prior to starting treatment to ensure your dog isn’t already infected.

If this sounds like a lot of products to remember, don’t worry – there are all-in-one parasite preventatives. Note that the below don’t fully protect your dog from Tapeworm, so if you choose to use an all-wormer preventative you need to include a second product that protects against tapeworm for your dog to be fully covered. This is especially important for those living in rural areas, where fleas and tapeworm are more prevalent.

Product Protects Against Administered Regularity
Simparica Trio Fleas, Heartworm, Ticks & Intestinal Worms Chew Monthly
Nexgard Spectra Fleas, Mites, Ticks, Heartworm & Intestinal Worms Chew Monthly
Credelio Plus Fleas, Ticks, Heartworm & Intestinal Worms Chew Monthly
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