Like all dogs, cavapoos are susceptible to the occasional parasite. These tiny creatures find their way onto the skin or internal organs of our pets and, if left untreated, can cause dogs serious harm. Worms, ticks, and fleas are the main offenders. We, as dog owners, have a duty of care to ensure that we treat our cavapoos to both prevent and (if infected) treat parasites that have attempted to make our furry friends their home.
My cavapoo, Alfie, in the last couple of months experienced both his first tick and flea infestation. Would you know what to look out for and how best to treat your cavapoo in these scenarios? Let’s dive into this slightly skin-crawling topic below!
Treating worms in cavapoos
There are many types of parasitic worms that may find their way into your cavapoo. This includes roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, whipworms and heartworms. Symptoms that may indicate your dog has worms include any of the following; diarrhoea, weight loss, lethargy, potbelly appearance, poor coat, blood in stool.
Typically, the most lethal type of worm that can infect dogs is the heartworm. Heartworms are transmitted via mosquitos, they find their way to the dog’s heart where it grows and multiplies. It can be fatal if left untreated, causing heart and or lung failure.
Prevention is key. Most of the aforementioned types of worm can be treated with a single monthly application of a pipette to the back of the neck, or a crushed up tablet in your dog’s food. I currently use a brand called Advocate (by Bayer), a pipette application that is also effective against fleas, so it’s a super convenient means of preventing a plethora of parasites.
If you suspect your cavapoo has a type of worm that cannot be treated at home (e.g. heartworm) then them to the vet as soon as possible.
Treating fleas in cavapoos
Fleas jump from one animal to another, latching onto your dog’s fur before eventually biting the skin to feed off your pet’s blood. For this reason, your dog might be more susceptible to catching fleas if they’re often interacting with other dogs (e.g. doggy daycare) or cats.
As with worms, the treatment of fleas is easier when taking a preventative approach. Applying a pipette of treatment to your cavapoo’s skin once a month is quick and convenient way to protect them.
If you suspect that your cavapoo has caught fleas then the telltale symptom is usually excessive itching, you may even notice a flea or two on your dog’s fur (check the head and base of the tail). Once you’ve confirmed your dog has fleas, you should start treatment immediately, starting with a bath in which you should use a flea shampoo and a showerhead to power off flea eggs.
Fleas can easily infest an entire home as their eggs and larvae drop off and live in carpet, furniture, etc. Once your dog has been treated, it’s important to also then treat the home to prevent reinfection. This includes vacuuming, washing your dog’s bedding and toys as well as using a flea smoke bomb in the main rooms your dog spends time in.
Treating ticks in cavapoos
Ticks lie in wait in tall grass, waiting for an animal (your cavapoo) to run past, triggering them to latch on to your pet’s fur before burying into your dog’s skin to feed on its blood.
Ticks that have gorged on blood will become quite large, about the size of a small pea, so you may discover one by running your hands through your cavapoo’s coat. Other symptoms of a dog that’s got a tick include weakness and lethargy, as well as irritation and itching.
Once a tick has been found, you should look to remove it as soon as possible. There are specialised “tick remover” tools you can buy specifically for this task, in the absence of one of these, a pair of tweezers may suffice. When removing a tick from your dog, grab it close to the skin and pull it out slowly and steadily, in a straight-up direction (adjacent to the skin). Then clean the area when it had embedded itself.
Can dogs get lyme disease from ticks?
As is the case with humans, in rare cases, tick bites can result in your dog getting lyme disease. This occurs when the tick that has bitten your dog is carrying a particular type of bacteria. Symptoms may include fever, swollen joints, loss of appetite and lethargy. If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms upon being bitten by a tick then you should take him or her to the vet immediately.
Cavapoo owners should be familiar with the various types of parasite that can infect their dog, plus the symptoms associated with each. Preventative treatment is vital to protect your pet year-round. If you suspect your cavapoo has some form of parasite, take them to the vet for diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.