Well, there’s no ONE answer that fits all. There are so many different products available out there, covering different parasites, for different periods of time, in different ways and with different methods of administration!
Let’s start by talking about the (what I like to call) “BIG SIX” parasites and how they relate to dogs in our area.
We all know that fleas can cause irritation and itch for your dog. Flea bites can also cause massive allergic skin disease which can take weeks of medication to get under control, and you may not even see a flea on your dog when this is the case!! Fleas on your dog is one thing, but that’ll usually go hand in hand with fleas in your house, in your carpet, in the bedding and even flea bites on you and your family.
Thankfully, we don’t have the Paralysis Tick locally, but we certainly have other ticks. They can be irritating for your dog and can also transmit blood-borne diseases. Not to mention if you plan on traveling to the coast, then Paralysis Ticks ARE a real risk. Given they are potentially life threatening, we’d say better to be safe than sorry.
Intestinal worms are very common in dogs, especially puppies. Puppies pick these up pretty routinely from their mum when they are born, and will continue to get reinfected throughout their life by eating contaminated faeces from other animals. Worm infestations can cause gut upsets – diarrhoea, bloating and in severe infestations – malnutrition, weightloss, anaemia.
Tapeworm prevention is so often left out of parasite control, yet it is an important one. The most common type of tapeworm your dog will contract is the flea tapeworm. These guys are transmitted by your pet chewing/ingesting fleas and can get up to 30cm long!
There is also the nasty hydatid variety of tapeworm, which dogs can get from eating raw offal from sheep, kangaroos and cattle. Humans can also get infected with these guys (no thanks).
A horrible worm that grows in the heart. Although not common in our part of the Country, it has been detected and there is potential for the rate of heartworm infestation to grow. Given its easy transmission via mosquito bites and its potential to be fatal, we think it’s a no-brainer.
Mites invade your dog’s skin, and can cause severe irritation, dryness and fur loss. Dogs pick them up from some of our local wildlife (e.g. foxes, wombats). Some mites (such as Scabies) can even spread to humans.
So, want to protect your dog against all of the above? Great idea! Keep in mind that unfortunately there currently isn’t a single product that covers everything. Your best option is to come in and have a chat with your pet’s veterinary team. Together you can collaborate and decide together on oral vs topical treatments, longer acting vs monthly treatments and spectrum of coverage. Also keeping in mind that there may be new considerations to be had if you plan on moving or traveling into a different area.