Dog Help Network - Tips on Preventing Worms in Dogs During Winter

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Why it's important not to drop your guard against worms in dogs during the winter months.

Worms in Dogs

Worms in Dogs During Winter

Worms in Dogs during the Winter Months

The winter months are here, and that means the concern for worms in dogs during this time usually drops off significantly, but the truth is they can still survive indoors. With the year-round warmer climates in homes, worms have plenty of places to hide and thrive throughout the season. A regiment of treatment should not be stopped just because the cold and dry weather has come.

No Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are the primary means of heartworms in dogs transfer, and once the mosquitoes have dropped off for the winter, most people tend to breathe a sigh of relief now that the potential for infection is done. Not so.

By the end of the year, in colder climates they may have dropped off for the winter and won’t be back again until spring, but this is not the only ruler by which the concern for heartworms should be measured. Homes are heated, families take vacations to warmer climates and other dogs can be infected that might come in contact with others.

Winter Homes

Furnaces and humidifiers provide great conditions for these parasites to thrive over the winter months in the same way they provide comfortable living spaces for people. Dogs can bring these parasites in during the fall, giving them a sustainable living environment all throughout the winter. Common spaces for living can be between couch cushions, plant beds or dog bedding – not to mention the dog itself. There are many places that can provide a safe haven for these unwanted guests.

Treating Worms in Dogs

Dogs should be treated for worms all year-round, but keeping a home clean of all possible infestations can help to prevent another outbreak. Insecticides and pesticides are a great way to get rid of any parasites that might be residing in plant material around a home. For bedding or other materials that can harbor these parasites, a thorough wash will help rid of any eggs or parasites that are residing there and help prevent worms in dogs.

Dog Behavior

In the colder months, licking and grooming can surge in a dog, especially licking of the feet. If these parasites are on the carpet, the act of licking can move a parasite into a dog’s mouth and become infected. Well-groomed dogs by brushing and bathing are far less likely to transfer parasites from their fur to their mouths, and a well-kept house that has been vacuumed and disinfected will help prevent the spread of worms in dogs much better.

Other Dogs

Close contact with other dogs can spread worms from one dog to another. Dogs that are known to have worms should be kept away from a healthy dog. Dogs that are kept in kennels, taken to grooming centers or the like will have an increased risk of contracting disease, making it vital to have heartworm treatment 365 days a year.

Heartworm Medication During the Winter

Preventative treatment needs to be administered all throughout the seasons to ensure that it is consistently effective. The American Heartworm Society is now recommending that all dogs have the treatment year-round because of possible sudden temperature changes during the season.

Although these treatments are prescribed for worm parasites, they are often also protecting the dog from mites, fleas, mange and other types of disease. By stopping treatment, a dog can be left open to many different dangers – not just worms.

The Cost

Comparatively, the tools needed to do preventative maintenance on a dog, and on a home, will be far less than having to pay for the treatment after the fact. Medications commonly run between $5 – 20 per month; much less than the typical treatment for a dog that has already contracted heartworms.

Heartworm Medication Manufacturers

Sometimes no matter the treatment and preventative maintenance, it just won’t be enough to stop worms in dogs. If this is the case, and it can be proved that significant effort at preventative maintenance was done, some manufacturers of heartworm medications will actually pay for the treatment.

The winter months, especially in cold/dry climates, will lessen the amount of parasites that can be transferred to a dog, but a heated home just needs one parasite and one dog to cause damage; so, a bit of preventative maintenance and effort can go a long way to keeping a dog healthy, happy and worm free.

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Chris Onyett
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