For centuries dogs have formed part of the family. As a parent, the dog may have become part of the family before the children. If you can take care of a pet, you can look after children — so they say! Now the children appreciate having a furry friend around and the dog truly does integrate into all aspects of family life. Many canine pets are allowed to sleep in their owner’s bed, lie in their laps and even lick food from their plates and plant kisses on their face — all very common interactions with domestic pets.
We don’t like to think that dogs are a danger to our family and — for the most part — they’re not. However, the parasites that your pet could be carrying may be putting your family and your dog at risk of illnesses. Your dog could be carrying around ticks and roundworm, which may harm both you and your pet. A survey of 1056 dog owners revealed the fact that most people are not aware of parasitic dangers and one in six say it’s been a year since their pet was last treated. More worryingly 23 per cent say they don’t know when their pet was last treated for lungworm which can be fatal to dogs.
While it isn’t time to give away your furry friend, it is time to get clued up on the facts. Ff the eggs of roundworm, Toxocara, are accidentally eaten, this can cause blindness and neurological problems, with children at an especially high risk. Think about each time you’re in contact with your pet without washing your hands, then move your hands near your face. Only seven per cent of those surveyed realised that roundworm was a threat to human health. Pet owners urgently need to be made aware of the risks of this parasite that can easily be treated and prevented through regular vet consultations.
These parasites are often not visible to humans, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. For example the young stages of ticks are very small and you may not even notice your pet has picked up a tick. Lungworm, like roundworms, lives inside our pet so we can’t see if our pet is infected.
At present people are aware of parasites but do not fully understand which ones are harmful and how they should be dealt with. We love our pets and aren’t prepared to put their health or our family’s health at risk of nasty parasites.
So what should we do? The best thing you can do is consult your vet for a simple way to help protect your pet and your family. If you head over to the Pet Parasite Action website, you can complete a risk assessment then find a vet near you to visit.
Dogs are fantastic members of the family. They help you stay active and offer non-judgemental love and comfort that we sometimes really need. Vet Janet Winter assures us “It’s very easy to enjoy the benefits of pet ownership and give your dog all the love they need, while also helping to protect them and the rest of your family from parasites.” If you follow the steps that we have mentioned, you’ll have a happy and healthy parasite-free pet. Remember — all household pets are at risk from parasites, not only dogs, so ensure all your pets have regular check-ups.
Share this post to make other pet owners aware of the risks.
For more information, visit the Pet Parasite Action website here.