Parasite Prevention for Dogs
Worms: Puppies frequently have parasites inherited from their mother. Your veterinarian will recommend a de-worming treatment for your puppy, and she will likely want to have a stool sample tested for other parasites.
Fleas: When puppies are 8 weeks old, they can and should start flea-prevention, which they should continue all year. Most flea preventatives that we recommend are given monthly, either by spreading a gel on the skin between the shoulder blades or given orally as a treat. Our favorite brand is Simparica, which prevents both fleas and ticks in dogs, and our patients seem to think it tastes pretty good!
Fleas: All adult dogs in Los Angeles should receive flea-prevention treatments all year. There are two reasons for this. First, it's always flea season in LA. It never gets cold enough for fleas to die off. Second, fleas have a three-month life cycle. If you only treat for one month, you won't kill the pupae which can wait up to 90 days to hatch!
Internal Parasites: Dogs can get worms and other internal parasites at boarding facilities, on walks, at dog parks, and really anywhere they wander outside their home. If your pet has diarrhea, or you see worms in their stool, call our office. If you have small children in your home, you should have your pet's stool tested annually for parasites, as some can be transmitted to humans.
Ticks: If your pet goes hiking or camping, you will also need to protect them against ticks, which can cause Lyme disease. Simparica contains a flea and tick treatment. Advantix is an over-the-counter treatment that we also recommend.
Heartworm: Heartworm is not very prevalent in our area, but the rates are slowly rising. Pets that were displaced from hurricane disasters a few years ago came to LA shelters and rescue groups infected with Heartworm, which increased the risk to our native pet population. Right now the risk does not seem to be too great, so we leave it up to pet owners to decide whether they wish to use Heartworm preventative medication.