Internal & External Parasites
Internal parasites are worms. External parasites are fleas and ticks. Parasites are part of a puppies life. Worms can cause death to puppies if not treated promptly. It is up to us as puppy owners to keep our puppy free from any kind of diseases. Keeping a clear area is a start. This includes your dogs bedding, your house and the lawn outside.
There are a few signs that will warn you if your puppy has worms. You will notice weight loss or a rounded stomach. Check their stool to see if there are any rice looking speckles in it. Your Veterinarian can worm your puppy if caught early enough. Don't confuse a full stomach after eating with internal parasites.
Garidia- Violates the intestinal tract and causes diarrhea. This parasite gets into your dogs system through infested drinking water. Chihuahuas are very susceptible. Walking your Chihuahua in unsanitary places should be avoided. Remember they normally weigh at most 6 pounds. When possible let them drink at home, or take some drinking water with you on your walk.
Heartworms- Are a deadly parasite that live in the dogs heart after a mosquito has bitten them. Some symptoms are coughing, breathing difficultly, weight loss and lethargy. Heartworms migrate next to your dogs heart. Some have been know to grow as long as 14 inches. Heartworms cause permanent damage to the heart and lungs and can cause death. Heartworms are treatable in the early stages but very costly and some risk is involved. Preventative medications are available in tablets or chewable treats that dogs like the flavor of. You can administer once a month or daily.
Hookworms- Suck blood from the intestines. They are passed on to a puppy through their mothers milk. Some symptoms are weakness, anemia, weight loss and diarrhea. They are small and very dangerous to a young puppy. If not treated your puppy could die within weeks.
Roundworms- Are passed to a puppy from their mother before they are born. Most all puppies have roundworms at birth. This egg like form is passed on to other dogs from their feces. They grow in the intestines. They can cause liver and lung damage. This is one of the reasons puppies go through several vaccinations.
Tapeworms- When a dog is bitten by a flea and bites at the itchy spot he ingests the tapeworm left by the flea. You can see the white worms in their stool. Usually your dog will be hungry and eat more than normal. Your Vet can give them a pill and it will kill the tapeworm. Try to keep their potty area clean.
Whipworms- Live in your dogs bowels. Dogs will pick these up from soil that is infected. Social dog runs and parks should be avoided, unless you know that those areas are maintained and kept sanitary.
Fleas- Can make a dogs life miserable. Flea bites can cause an allergic reaction. They can leave tapeworms on your dog. Female fleas can lay thousands of eggs. Every flea you see there are many more that you can't see. Being infested by these pest are a night mare. When you feel like giving up on ridding your home, yard, and dog; just think how your Chihuahua feels. Itchy, small red dots, pepper like speckles (flea droppings) on them. There are many products too choose from to help get rid of this problem. Medications are easier to give than bathing or dipping your dog with insecticides.
Ticks- Carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease and tick fever (erlichiosis). All which are deadly. There are three types of ticks. Brown dog tick, deer tick and wood tick. If you see a tick on your dog; try to remove it. Use a pair of tweezers or a tissue. You don't want to get infected yourself. Grasp the tick close to the body and slowly pull it out, trying not to leave the head in. If the head stays embedded, it will fall off in a few days. A small bump may appear on your dog but it will go away.