Someone once said that every child should have a dog and good parents who allow them to have it… The intimate bond that brings together children and dogs is simply undeniable. This extraordinary chemistry at times can only be likened to the love between siblings or long-time friends. However, the love between children and dogs may sometimes come to include a third wheel, or rather many… internal parasites.
Forewarned is forearmed! Let’s review the key points to look out for when taking care of the health of those who we love the most.
- Keep your dog internally dewormed. Dogs can pick up parasites from the soil or from food contaminated with parasite eggs and/or larvae. One way to prevent the most frequent parasitic diseases is to apply an internal anti-parasitic once a month—this breaks the lifecycle of any parasite trying to settle on your pet.
- If you have skipped the above precaution, you can lower the chances of contagion by not allowing your dog to sleep on your child’s bed, and by forbidding any excessive displays of affection… In other words, no more licking! We know that preventing this is sometimes impossible, so we recommend not skipping the first step.
- Try to collect stool as soon as you can. As the hours go by, the eggs emerging from the stool become infectious—they are ready to “attack” and become a source of contagion for pets and for people.
- If there is a particular spot with dirt or sand where your pet relieves itself, try to keep your children away from there, or at least prevent them from playing with that dirt.
- Avoid feeding raw or undercooked meat to your dog, as it may contain parasitic cysts.
- Do not let your child or pet play with your shoes. Children and particularly puppies often love to play with sneakers, shoes and sandals. Besides the fact that they can tear them out, this is a key point because it is we who can “import” parasite eggs or larvae into our homes through our footwear. Therefore, the harder to reach, the better.
- Do not let your child drink or eat from your pet’s bowl. Yes, for us it sounds unusual, but for children it’s natural. What child doesn’t like to share everything with their best friend?
- Keep your dog free from external parasites. Some parasites, like fleas, feed on your pet and spread internal parasites that affect dogs and cats and also potentially children. Thus, it is ideal to comprehensively deworm your pet to eliminate fleas, ticks and round- and flat worms.
- Always make sure that your children wash their hands after playing with their dog or with dirt or sand. Have them wash the palm and back of each of their little hands and also under the nails. Hygiene is key to prevent any disease.
- Encourage behaviors that make it easier to live together in harmony. It is critical that these inseparable friends learn to play together without hurting each other and respect each other’s spaces. Your supervision and timely intervention are essential to for them to share a lifelong loving relationship.
Always remember to talk a vet you trust to stay up to date on your pet’s health plan.