Tips for Getting Rid of External Parasites

Tips for Getting Rid of External Parasites
Francisco María García

Written and verified by the lawyer Francisco María García.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Treating your pet for external parasites is one of the most important forms of preventive care you can do to take care of his health. But it is important to know how and when to apply the products. The idea is to successfully achieve a positive result without risking the welfare of your environment and your pet.

External parasites

Ectoparasites can affect the external part of all animals’ bodies, whether they are wild or domestic, but mainly they affect mammals. Their basic goal is to find food and protect themselves against threats and predators from their environment.

Ectoparasites get the nutrients necessary for their survival through blood. However, they cause a serious deficiency in the affected animal’s body.

The best known examples of external parasites that attack our pets are fleas and ticks. These two small invaders belong to two different families. The first group of ectoparasites comprises the Acari subclass, represented by ticks and mites. The second group is the subclass Insecta. Its members are fleas, lice, flebotomus, mosquitoes and flies.

A dog scratching itself.

In addition to causing itching, these parasites also cause more serious health problems. Moreover, they can cause serious illnesses if they are not properly treated. Among the main problems are:

  • Cutaneous lesions, accompanied by itching, redness and inflammation.
  • Allergic processes derived from an immunological response to a virus or bacteria.
  • Infections caused by bacteria and fungi that can proliferate in wounds.
  • They can act as carriers for the transmission of serious diseases, such as leishmania, filaria, canine ehrlichiosis and more.

They also represent an important zoonotic factor, since they can contaminate different species, including human beings, causing a massive dissemination of infectious diseases.

Practical advice to successfully get rid of and prevent external parasites

1. Strengthen your pet’s protection during summer

Ectoparasites can survive for a long time under less-than-ideal conditions, but their optimal development happens in warmer and more temperate climates. Therefore, the largest populations are in tropical and subtropical countries. They tend to proliferate in Europe after summer arrives with increasingly high temperatures.

Therefore, it is important to strengthen their treatment for parasites before summer arrives. It is a good idea to use anti-flea and anti-tick soaps during baths and/or to use anti-parasite collars during walks outside.

2. Periodically perform a treatment for parasites

The most important thing when it comes to treatments for external parasites is to keep up with the treatment schedule. The products are only effective for a certain period of time. When this is over, the animal is totally exposed to microorganisms.

It is advisable that you apply the pipettes or sprays at least 2 times per year. To apply them, follow your veterinarian and the manufacturer’s recommendations.

3. Choose quality products

The quality of the products you use is as important as the schedule. It is best to decide with your vet which product and at what dosage you will use it on your pet. It is essential that the product be approved by the health, sanitary control and veterinary medicine organizations.

4. Getting rid of external parasites when your dog is pregnant

Pregnant dogs need specific care. It is important to get rid of external parasites before the puppies are born in order to avoid any contamination. The vet can help you care for your dog by carrying out the treatment during this sensitive period.

5. Getting rid of external parasites in puppies

You can treat puppies for parasites after they are 2 day sold. It is important to choose a product specifically designed for this age, since they are made so as not to poison the small body that is still in development.

6. Reinforced hygiene

Having a pet requires improving the cleanliness of your home. To prevent the proliferation of parasites, it is especially necessary that you pay attention to the corners and darkest small spaces. In them, waste accumulates and parasites can be “camouflaged.”

A dog enjoying a bath.
Photographer: Scott Horvath

7. Cut and brush your pet’s fur

Parasites prefer hidden and dark places to “hide” and reproduce. That’s why they grow more quickly on the backs of dogs with abundant fur. We recommend that you cut your pet’s fur at least once a year. Preferably, do it during the summer.

It is also a good habit to brush your dog 1 to 2 times a week. This keeps their fur from accumulating once it has been shedded.

This care is important to ensure that you rid your pet of external parasites without harming his health. In addition, they are essential in order to maintain their well-being and quality of life.

Source of the main image: Jeff Ro

The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.