As a responsible dog owner, ensuring the health and well-being of your furry companion comes naturally. One aspect of canine health that often goes overlooked is the presence of parasites and worms. These pesky organisms can wreak havoc on your dog’s health if left untreated, and they’re more common than you might think. Since parasites are typically passed from dog to dog, all dog owners share in the overall health of the dog community at dog parks, daycare and boarding facilities.

Common Dog Parasites:

  • Heartworm – These spaghetti-like worms are among the most common intestinal parasites in dogs. Transmitted mostly by mosquitos, infections can lead to heart problems.
  • Hookworms – Small parasites that attach to the intestinal wall and feed on blood. They can cause severe anemia, especially in puppies and debilitated dogs.
  • Tapeworms – These segmented parasites live in the intestines of dogs. They’re transmitted through the ingestion of infected fleas or small mammals.
  • Whipworms – Residing in the large intestine can cause diarrhea, weight loss, and anemia in severe cases.
  • Giardia and Coccidia – These are protozoans that live in feces and are transmissible to dogs and humans. although contaminated water is the more common way humans get infected. Symptoms include diarrhea, weight loss, dehydration due to vomiting and a poor coat.

Severity and Transmission:

These and other parasites can cause a range of health issues in dogs, including diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, anemia, and even death in severe cases. Moreover, some of these parasites are zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted from dogs to humans, posing a risk to public health.
Dogs are often exposed to these parasites in environments where infected dogs are allowed to visit, such as boarding kennels and daycare facilities. Close contact with infected dogs or contaminated areas, such as soil or grass where eggs or larvae are present, increases the likelihood of transmission.

Importance of Fecal Testing in Boarding and Training Facilities:

Given the ease of transmission and the potential severity of parasitic infections, reputable boarding and training facilities prioritize the health and safety of their canine clients, staff and visitors. One essential measure to achieve this is requiring negative fecal tests from all dogs before they are admitted into the facility.

Fecal testing allows for the detection of parasite eggs or larvae in the dog’s stool, even before symptoms manifest. By implementing a policy of mandatory fecal testing, boarding and training facilities can identify infected dogs early and prevent the spread of parasites to other canine guests.

When choosing a boarding or training facility for your dog, keep your dog healthy by making sure fecal testing is required. A reputable facility will prioritize the health and safety of all dogs in their care, and negative fecal tests are a crucial component of their health screening process.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to parasite control. By staying informed and working with facilities that prioritize preventive measures, you can help keep your dog healthy and happy for years to come.