Keep your dogs, cats healthy by checking for parasites like fleas, ticks, heartworm

With warm, summer temperatures around the country, there's a good chance you've spent some time outside with your pet.

Regardless of whether you've taken your pet on an outdoor vacation toward the mountains, gone for an evening walk, let your cat outside for a few hours or gone to the dog park, there's a chance your pet was exposed to parasites.

Fleas, heartworms and ticks are a few of the most common parasites that pets can get after even the shortest amount of time spent outside.

Not only are these parasites harmful to your pets, they can also infest your home and belongings and some parasites can transfer to make humans sick, as well.

It's important to bring your pet to the veterinarian for checkups and to keep track of any dietary, behavioral or physical differences, according to an animal health website .

Fleas

Fleas are more common during warm months and can jump up to two feet in the area, making your pets the perfect breeding ground for pesky populations.

Dogs and cats that appear to be itching and have irritated skin patches may be suffering from fleas, Pets and Parasites says.

Flea collars, medications and cleaning rituals can help prevent and treat flea infestations.

Heartworm

Heartworms are very common in all parts of the United States and are most common in dogs, according to Pets and Parasites . Heartworm larvae are transmitted to animals through mosquitoes, and once grown, can be more than one foot long.

Medication can prevent pets from getting heartworm infections. If a heartworm infection is untreated, the infection can be deadly and the cost of getting rid of the infection is more expensive than preventing it, Pets and Parasites says.

Ticks

Dogs and cats that spend even just a short time outside can get ticks, which can cause anemia, diseases and discomfort.

Humans can also be affected by ticks, so do regular checks on your pets and your own skin to see if a tick has burrowed in your skin.

For more on how to treat and diagnose ticks, visit Pets and Parasites .

 

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