Vet Blog

When Should my Puppy Start Parasite Prevention?

January 03, 2019

One of your initial priorities will inevitably be ensuring that your precious puppy is up to date with all of his preventative medications.

While many inexperienced owners think that this just means vaccinations, those who have owned an animal before will understand that this also includes parasite prevention.

What is parasite prevention?

Parasite prevention is the name given to the selection of treatments that are available that are designed specifically to protect your pet from these blood-sucking organisms. Parasites survive by consuming the blood of their host, depleting your pet of nutrients so that they can thrive. There are many different types of parasites that could potentially affect your puppy including:

External ticks (that live outside your pup's body)

  • Fleas
  • Ticks
  • Ringworm
  • Ear mites

Internal ticks (that live inside your puppy's body)

  • Tapeworms
  • Hookworms
  • Roundworms
  • Whipworms
  • Heartworms

While no parasite infestation is a nice experience for your puppy and all could potentially have serious consequences for his health and wellbeing, there is one that is considered to be more dangerous than the others and that is heartworms. While heartworms can affect cats and ferrets too, dogs are considered the natural host for these deadly parasites that live inside the blood vessels of your puppies' hearts and lungs. Since the immune system and general body systems are still developing in your puppy, heartworms may cause problems for your pet even more quickly than they would in an adult dog. Left untreated, heartworms are almost always fatal.

Worming your puppy - when to start

If there is one type of parasite that is more likely to affect your puppy than any other, it is worms. In fact, most puppies are born with worms and as such will need to be wormed regularly during their lifetime. Veterinarians in Columbus NC recommend that puppies are wormed a 2, 4, 6, 8, and 12 weeks of age using a broad-spectrum worming treatment. After this time, your furbaby should be wormed every three months.

Types of ongoing parasite prevention

There are various types of parasite preventatives available and which is right for your puppy will largely depend on her weight. Your veterinarian will be happy to advise you which is the most suitable for your pup.

Typically, you can expect the preventatives to be available in the following forms:

  • Oral medications
  • Vaccinations
  • Topical treatments such as spot-on ointments, shampoos, and lotions
  • Collars that emit chemicals that deter parasites

It is important to understand that each type of preventative is only effective for a prescribed amount of time before it must be re-administered. It is essential to note how long your chosen product or medication is going to work for so that you can plan for the next dose before it runs out. This will ensure that there aren't any gaps when your puppy is left vulnerable to infection from parasites. As stated above, worming should take place every 3 months to ensure that your pooch remains healthy and free from this type of parasite.

If you are concerned that your puppy may have heartworms or another type of parasite infestation, or you would like to learn more about parasite prevention in puppies, our knowledgeable vets in Columbus NC would be delighted to offer their advice and support. Please contact Bonnie Brae Veterinary Hospital in Columbus NC at 828-970-1780 to schedule a consultation.