Are Dog Worms A Big Deal? (Yes!)

What Are Dog Worms?

Dog worms can be a serious condition for your pup, causing a wide range of symptoms, depending upon age and breed. There are five common types of worms that affect dogs: heartworms, roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and whipworms; and some of these dog worms are transmittable to humans. The good news is that dog worms are relatively easy to treatIf you suspect your dog might have worms, it is important to contact an online veterinarian right away to talk about treatment options.

How Do I Know If My Dog Has Worms?

Certain dog worm symptoms are attributable to the specific type of infection. Tapeworm is typically the easiest type of dog worm to spot because it is common to see white segments on your dog’s behind, in his feces, and in his living space. Other infections, such as roundworm, whipworm, and heartworm, are hard to identify without a fecal or blood test from your veterinarian because your dog may not show any signs of infection. However, major infections from roundworm and whipworm often cause diarrhea, weight loss, and vomiting; whereas heartworm can cause shortness of breath, lethargy and coughing.

What Are Some Common Types Of Dog Worms?

1) Heartworms

Overview and Symptoms:

Heartworm disease is very common in dogs and, although very serious, are totally preventable. Heartworms can be contracted through a contaminated mosquito. When the mosquito bites a dog, it spreads infected larvae through the bite wound. Once the infected larvae enter the dog’s body, they migrates to the heart and lungs where they can grow over one foot in length. Heartworms can affect blood flow throughout your dog’s body and can damage the heart, lungs, and liver. In its early stages heartworm often doesn’t present symptoms; however, in more serious cases symptoms such as shortness of breath, lethargy, and coughing are common.

Treatment:

Dogs can be treated for heartworms through prescribed medication (usually taken once a month). It is important, especially in puppies, to begin treatment within the first two months of their lives. It is recommended that puppies are tested for heartworm before they are medicated; the American Heartworm Society also advises that you have your dog tested yearly for heartworm. Schedule an appointment with a mobile vet to discuss heartworm prevention, treatment, and testing options.

Risk to Humans:

It is extremely rare for humans to contract heartworm through direct contact with a dog.

2) Roundworms

Overview and Symptoms:

According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council, roundworms are one of the most common types of worms to affect dogs, and most dogs contract roundworms at some point in their lives. Roundworms are typically caused by ingesting something that contains worm larvae. Roundworms can live in your dog’s intestines and can move from there into his lungs. It is common that your dog will not show signs of roundworm infection; however, major roundworm infections often cause symptoms such as diarrhea, weight loss, and vomiting. 

Treatment:

Dogs can be treated for roundworms through prescribed deworming medications. Heartworm medications are also an effective way to treat roundworms. Schedule a virtual appointment with an online veterinarian to chat about how to prevent or treat roundworm infection.

Risk to Humans:

Roundworms can be contracted by humans through their dogs. Infections commonly occur through contact with contaminated fecal matter.

3) Tapeworms

Overview and Symptoms:

Tapeworms are long worms with multiple segments that attach themselves to dogs’ intestines; tapeworms aren’t a serious problem, but they can cause illness and discomfort in dogs. It is important that tapeworms are treated quickly because each segment of a tapeworm has its own reproductive organs allowing each tapeworm segment to reproduce and grow in length very rapidly. There are various types of tapeworms, each with specific, targeted hosts. Your dog can become infected when it consumes the infected host. Some species of tapeworms, such as the Taenia and Echinococcus, are hosted by smaller rodents and larger animals. The Dypilidium Canium species of tapeworm is spread to dogs through fleas. Symptoms of tapeworm often include weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Another common sign of tapeworms is finding white segments on your dogs’ backside, in their feces, and in his living space.

Treatment

The most effective way to keep your dog from contracting tapeworms is to keep it away from hosts, especially fleas. Many prescribed heartworm medications also contain an active drug that prevents tapeworm. If you suspect that your furry friend has contracted tapeworm, schedule an appointment with one of our online veterinarians for further information on treatment options.

Risk to Humans

Although it is uncommon for dogs to transfer tapeworms to humans, there have been some instances of dog-to-human transmission of certain tapeworms to their owners, resulting in serious health risks to the owners.

4) Hookworms

Overview and Symptoms

Hookworms are a very serious and sometimes fatal threat to dogs. Hookworms are intestinal parasites that hook themselves to the lining of intestinal walls and feed on blood resulting in internal blood loss. Hookworm larvae live in soil and can be contracted by dogs through consumption of the larvae and through penetration of the skin. Hookworm is especially dangerous to puppies that haven’t fully developed. Symptoms of hookworm include poor growth, weakness, lethargy, weight loss, and death.

Treatment

Dogs can be treated for hookworm through deworming medication, and many heartworm medications also work to prevent hookworm. It is important that puppies are treated multiple times within their first few months of life as hookworms pose more of a threat to very young dogs. Schedule an appointment with an online veterinarian at TelePAWS to talk about preventative measures and treatment options for your pup.

Risk to Humans

It is rare for an infected dog to pass hookworms on to humans. However, if dog- to-human transmission of hookworms does occur, the infected person may experience mild discomfort and can be easily treated.

5) Whipworms

Overview and Symptoms

Whipworm is one of the most common parasitical worms a dog can contract. Whipworms reside in the lining of the cecum (where the small and large intestines meet) and colon (large intestine). Dogs can contract a whipworm infection by consuming larvae that are typically found in soil. In many instances, dogs don’t show signs of a whipworm infection. However, more severe infections can lead to serious health decline. Signs of a serious infection include diarrhea (bloody or normal), weight loss, and extreme lethargy. If left untreated, whipworms can result in death.

Treatment

Annual fecal tests are recommended to determine whether your dog has whipworm. Medications are available to prevent and treat whipworm in dogs. Some heartworm medications can also control whipworm infections.

Risk to Humans

Dogs are unable to pass whipworms to humans. However, humans are susceptible to a certain species of whipworm that can be contracted through contact with contaminated fecal matter.

An Online Vet Can Help With Dog Worms

It is very common for dogs to get parasites at some point in their lives.  However, by working with an online veterinarian and having your pup tested annually for parasites, you can protect your dog and your family.  Regular parasite preventatives are the best way to treat and prevent most dog worm infections and reinfections.  Contact an online vet at TelePAWS today to discuss parasite preventatives to keep your dog and your family safe and healthy.

CLICK HERE to request an appointment with an online vet at TelePAWS today!

Flying with Dogs

Can I fly with my dog?

Flying with your dog is more complicated today, much like air travel can be for us humans. Gone are the days of simply putting your pup in a travel crate, shuttling him off with your checked luggage, and retrieving him at the baggage claim upon arrival. This is a good thing. Yesterday’s airline travel was unsafe and scary for our furry friends. Today, depending upon the airline and the size of your dog, you may choose between bringing your dog with you into the cabin or having Fido travel in the cargo hold. Generally speaking, it is safer to keep your dog with you in the cabin than having him ride in the cargo hold; however, airline policies regarding dogs also differ depending upon the dog’s size, breed, and temperament. Federal regulations require pets to be at least eight weeks old to fly.

How do you travel with a dog on a plane?

If you’re flying with your dog, be sure to book your airline tickets early, as some airlines restrict the number of pets allowed on a flight. Also, be aware that there are usually fees associated with flying a dog, and airlines charge anywhere from $75 to several hundred dollars each way, depending upon the size of your dog. Try to purchase direct flights, as connections and switching planes can result in additional stress and trauma for your pup (think flight delays, broken aircraft, fumbling baggage handlers, damaged dog crates . . .). Be sure to reserve a non-exit row seat if your bringing your dog into the passenger cabin with you, because pets are not allowed in exit rows. Also, it’s important get to the airport early to exercise and potty your dog preflight. Some airports have special doggie-do areas beyond the security checkpoint to allow Fido one more chance to “go” before takeoff. It’s a good idea to research what amenities are available for your dog at the airports you are flying to and from, as you may decide to book your tickets based on those amenities. Sometimes it’s worth driving a further distance to another airport if it would mean less stress for your dog.

Is it safe for dogs to fly in cargo?

Some airlines will allow your dog to fly with you in the passenger cabin if your pup is in a carrier or crate that can fit under the seat. Other airlines only allow dogs to travel in the cargo hold. If your dog has to fly in the cargo hold, The Animal Welfare Act requires that cages and other shipping containers meet the minimum standard for size, ventilation, strength, sanitation, and design for safe handling. (Sky kennels provided by the airlines meet these requirements.) Also, it’s important to consider the weather when flying with your dog. In winter, it’s best to fly during the day to ensure the warmest possible temperatures for your dog in the cargo hold. In the summer, fly early or late in the day to avoid the midday heat. Depending upon the length of the flight, regulations may require that you ensure that your dog has water or food in the crate.

Speak up!

Both you and your dog deserve a safe flight. Don’t be afraid to ask your flight attendant for help. When you board the plane, try to tell the pilot and a flight attendant that your dog is in the cargo hold. The airlines already have a system for providing this notification, but it is a good idea for you to remind them.

Flying with your dog along can make a family getaway all the more fun, but it’s best to prepare for traveling with a dog on a plane.  Understanding what you need to do before booking your ticket is important to ensure a smooth trip for you and your furry travel companion.

If you have any questions about flying with your dog, book an appointment to consult with a TelePAWS online vet.

Can I Give My Dog Thanksgiving Turkey?

Ahhh, Thanksgiving. A time for feasting. . . We all tend to indulge a little too much during the Thanksgiving holiday, including our dogs. Our online vets have weighed in on how you can safely enjoy this Thanksgiving with your dog.

Turkey meat is ok, but cooked turkey bones are dangerous to dogs.

While white turkey meat can be a great protein source for your pup, our online vets warn that you should never feed your dog Thanksgiving turkey bones. Cooked turkey bones are very dangerous and can lead to serious injuries, including broken teeth, stomach blockages, and bacterial infections.

Possible consequences of your dog eating cooked Thanksgiving turkey bones:

1. Your dog can break his teeth and injure his mouth.

If you feed your dog cooked Thanksgiving turkey bones, he could break a tooth and have to have the tooth surgically removed.  Our online vets warn that, even if your dog doesn’t break a tooth, Thanksgiving turkey bones can injure your dog’s mouth in other ways, including cutting the pup’s mouth or tongue or getting a bone sliver stuck in the jaw, also requiring surgery. If your dog seems to have a mouth-related issue after eating Thanksgiving turkey bones, our online vets can assist you in determining how to assess and best address how to help your pup. 

2. Your dog can become constipated from eating cooked Thanksgiving turkey bones.

Cooked Thanksgiving turkey bones can cause constipation in dogs. While this usually can be resolved easily, it can be very uncomfortable for your pup. Our online vets can help you with remedies, including offering your pup other Thanksgiving foods, like pumpkin, which are helpful to treat dog constipation.

3. Your dog can suffer serious internal injuries from eating cooked Thanksgiving turkey bones.

Cooked turkey bones can become stuck in your dog’s stomach and cause blockages. Also, bones can splinter apart and pierce your dog’s stomach or intestines, which can cause serious bacterial infections that are difficult to treat and can even be fatal.  If the bone fragments make it through your dog, they can still cause pain and bleeding from the rectum as your dog passes them.

Keep your dog safe this Thanksgiving.

Be sure to keep the Thanksgiving turkey out of reach of your dog’s prying paws, especially if your pup is a counter surfer.  If you are preparing the turkey and are letting it rest after cooking, place it well out of your dog’s reach.  Do not leave bones in the kitchen trash.  Immediately take the bones to your outside trash can so that your dog can’t get to them. Our online vets recommend that, if you want to share some of your tasty turkey with Fido, stick with the white meat.  Be sure not to give him the turkey skin. While delicious to us, the butter and spice rubs we use when cooking a turkey can cause stomach upset in dogs, and onions and garlic are toxic to dogs.  

What should you do if you think your dog has a cooked turkey bone?

If your dog gets his paws on a cooked turkey bone this Thanksgiving, try to be calm and act quickly to remove it from his mouth.  You won’t want to chase your dog in order to grab the bone from him, as a game of chase could cause your dog to choke on the bone.  

If you’re not quick enough to get the bone away from your pup before they’ve eaten some or all of it, a visit with one of our online vets is advised, as TelePAWS is here for you and your pup 24/7 and on holidays. Let the veterinarian know how big you think the bone was or how much your dog ate. The veterinarian will be able to advise you on next steps and what symptoms to look for if it is an emergency. 

Schedule an appointment today with a TelePAWS online vet for only $50.

5 Summertime Activities for You and Your Dog

When summer arrives, many pet owners seek to find outdoor activities that can be enjoyed with their dogs. We have listed a few of the top summer activities that you can do with your dog. The summer heat can be difficult on some dogs, so take precautions to keep them safe while having fun.

1. Fun at the Dog Park

Dogs that love to play with other dogs will enjoy this summertime activity. Be sure to check your local dog parks for the things that will keep your dogs safe while they play. You will want to look for proper fencing, adequate drainage, well-mowed grass, cleaning supplies (bag dispensers and trash cans), plenty of shade and water, parking nearby, and benches.

Be sure to take water with you, treats, and a ball or two to throw. You’ll want to check the rules of the park which may require you to bring your pet’s vaccination records each time. Have fun meeting other dogs and their owners while you are at the park!

2. Dog Play at the Ocean

The ocean provides ample room for running and playing games with your dog during the summer. Before you pack, you’ll need to plan which beach to visit as not all beaches allow dogs. Look for a beach that will allow off-leash activity any time of the day. This will give you plenty of time to enjoy the fun times at the beach.

There are several essential items to take with you when you go to the beach with your dog: Bottled water, water dish, food and treats, collar with ID tag, vaccination records, dog-safe sunscreen, blanket, towels, dog toys, dog waste bags, Also consider a canine life vest and dog goggles (doggles) as well as a GPS tracker for the collar.

3. Taking Your Dog Hiking

Hiking provides exercise and entertainment for you and your dog. Whether you hike in the woods or on a trail around a lake, there’s so much for your dog to see and places to explore. From squirrels to deer to ducks, your friend will see so many new and exciting sights.

Your dog can even help carry the load on your hike. Dog back packs will hold all of the items you need to bring. Be sure to bring plenty of water, treats, collar/harness and leash, as well as dog booties if you’ll be hiking for long hours or on hot/rough surfaces.

4. Summer Fun at Home With Your Dog

If you have a dog that does not like being with other dogs, an aging dog, a young puppy, or it is extremely hot outside, you may want to find things to do at home instead of venturing to other places. There are many interesting ideas for you and your pet to do from the convenience of your home.

If you have a swimming pool, this is a great way for your dog to cool off on the hot days. If not, you can purchase a plastic kiddie pool to fill with water. You can also get a simple water sprinkler. Many dogs get a lot of enjoyment out of running through the sprinkler on hot days.

Another fun summer activity is making homemade dog treats. There are many recipes online to choose from. Though your dog won’t be able to help you make these treats, they will certainly love to help eat them!

Purchase a new game or toy for your dog this summer. Tug-of-war, frisbee, and Kong toys are just a few ideas to get you started. Create an agility course or teach your dog some new tricks to keep you both busy and having a great time together.

5. Camping With Your Dog

If you like to camp, how much more fun will it be to take your best friend? Exploring the grounds, hiking the trails, throwing a ball or frisbee, and meeting other dogs are all things for you and your dog to enjoy while camping.

Items that you will want to bring to the campsite for your pet: food and water, portable water dish, collar and leash with ID, first aid kit, dog booties, vaccination records, brush to remove burrs, dog bed, dog waste bags, and dog toys.

Keeping Your Dog Safe During the Summer

You will want to ensure that your furry family member is kept safe while enjoying all of these summer activities. Following these simple precautions will help in keeping them out of harm’s way.

  1. Keep your cell phone with you in case you need to call a veterinarian for advice. TelePAWS online veterinarians are available to help with your pet’s needs and when you have questions.
  2. Keep your pet’s vaccinations up-to-date. There are many infections that your dog can get when outside in the summer. By keeping your pet well vaccinated, you can avoid many illnesses.
  3. Keep your dog on regular parasitic preventatives for heartworms, intestinal parasites, fleas, and ticks. TelePAWS can advise you on the necessary preventatives to keep your dog safe from all kinds of parasites.
  4. Protect the paws, skin, eyes by using dog-safe sunscreen, dog booties, and doggles (dog goggles) while you are having fun this summer.
  5. Carry plenty of freshwater and a water bowl/travel water dish. Offer water to your dog frequently while you are in the heat to avoid dehydration. You will want to keep your dog from drinking ocean water by offering the freshwater often.
  6. Avoid heatstroke by monitoring for early symptoms such as lethargy, stumbling, vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing. Stay in the shade on very hot days as much as possible and avoid going outdoors in the hottest hours of the day. If you think your dog is exhibiting symptoms of heatstroke, take him to a veterinary hospital immediately.
  7. Snakes, spiders, and other venomous creatures can cause problems in dogs too. Be aware of your surroundings when on walks and at dog parks. Try not to let your dog wander too far off from you or out of your sight. If they are bitten, getting your dog to a veterinary hospital quickly is important.

Check out more dog-friendly summertime ideas.

You can get advice on care of your pet from an online veterinarian for only $50 without having to go to the vet office.