Protecting Your Puppy from Parasites

It is perfectly normal for your four-legged friend to attract some not-so-attractive attention. We’re talking about the nits, fleas and ticks out there. If you don’t pay attention, they can cause some pretty serious trouble for your pets, but it’s nothing you can’t handle if you have the right information.


Ticks attach to a puppy’s skin, preferring the most delicate areas. They use their mouths to pierce the skin and inject a special saliva, which solidifies into a very strong attachment point. The tick then consumes its meal of blood. Once the tick has finished its meal, it uses another type of saliva to dissolve the attachment point so the tick can drop off. The best way to remove a tick from your puppy is to use a special tick hook, rather than pulling it off with your fingers or tweezers. Because ticks can be carriers of diseases, consult your veterinarian if you see ticks on your puppy.


Your vet will provide you with a schedule for deworming. A multipurpose deworming medication is typically used, consisting of a mixture of several anthelmintics that provide a broad spectrum of protection. Discuss with your vet the proper dose  adjusted for your puppy’s weight. The puppy’s characteristics should be taken into account when deciding how to administer the deworming medication, whether as pills, paste or liquid. Another important test, a stool analysis, can reveal worm eggs, determining the need for a medication to specifically target the worms. Consult your veterinarian for specific advice.  


To effectively combat fleas, it is helpful to understand this parasite’s life cycle. Though adult fleas may be the most visible to us, they are only part of the problem. Flea eggs and larva represent the major cause of future flea development in a home. Flea larvae hate light, so they hide in nooks and crannies, under rugs and between floorboards. After one or two weeks of life, the larva forms a cocoon, which is resistant to flea treatments and can lie dormant for more than five months. When in presence of humans or pets, the cocoons then hatch and adult fleas invade the environment. The fact that all of the cocoons can hatch simultaneously promotes massive infestations within a few hours. Adult fleas jump onto dogs and bite them in order to feed on the blood. A flea treatment needs to accomplish several major objectives:

  • Kill adult fleas on dogs living in the area by using insecticides. These insecticides can be used in spray or spot-on. The latest are small liquid vials which are poured onto the skin, usually between the shoulders.
  • Prevent fleas from developing in the environment. This can be done by using IGRs (Insect Growth Regulators) sprayed in the house to prevent egg and larva development.
  • Before applying any treatment in the environment, the whole area should be dusted and thoroughly cleaned.

01: Check for ticks after outdoor activities.
02: Contact your veterinarian to ensure the appropriate deworming schedule.
03: Fleas can cause eczema, itching or significant hair loss.