Doesn't Man's Best Friend Deserve More than Life on a Chain?

18 Ways to Help

Adopt a Rescued Dog

Build Fences

Care for & Train Dogs

Donate Money

Educate Kids

Find Homes

Get Handouts & Stuff

Learn the Facts

Pass Laws

Stop Dogfighting

Talk to Owners

Share Celebrity Videos

Watch Chaining PowerPoint



Parasites and Your Pet


Heartworms are deadly worms carried by mosquitoes. If an infected mosquito bites your dog, your dog will get worms that live in the pet’s heart. Heartworms will eventually kill your dog. Signs of a serious heartworm infection include coughing and difficulty exercising and breathing.

The only way to prevent heartworms is by giving your dog medicine each month, even during winter.

Heartworm preventatives such as Revolution and Heartguard are available from a vet or online. These products are cheaper from Australian websites such as I've been ordering from Australia for years and it's worked great. I use Revolution in summer to kill fleas and heartworms, and generic ValuHeart in winter. Even when fleas are gone, you must treat for heartworms because they can grow months after infection.

You can purchase the main ingredient in heartworm preventatives, ivermectin, from farm supply stores but you must be extremely careful with dosage.

If your dog is infected you can do the "fast kill" method where your vet injects the dog to kill the worms. It's expensive and your dog must stay very still for weeks. You can also do the "slow kill" method where your pet takes antibiotics for months.

Heartworm preventative will not kill existing adult worms, but it will prevent new ones. Adult worms will die in about two years. Even if you can't afford to treat existing heartworms, starting them on preventative will keep your dog from further infestation.


Flea-and-tick season is generally April-Sept. depending on where you live. Fleas move fast, so they can be hard to see. Look for flea dirt, which looks like black specks but turns red when you rub it.

Fleas can carry tapeworm eggs. If your pet eats an infected flea it can get tapeworms. Look for small, seed-like particles where your pet sleeps. If you know your dog has tapes, ask your vet for a pill without a fecal test to save money.

The best way to prevent fleas is to use a monthly “spot-on” topical such as Frontline or Advantage. Revolution kills fleas and heartworms. These products are cheaper from Australian websites such as


Ticks can cause diseases such as Lyme. Some flea treatments, like Revolution and Frontline, also kill ticks. You can get cheap tick collars from pet and discount stores, and very effective tick collars from your vet.

The easiest way to remove a tick from your pet is to grab it with tweezers and gently pull it out. Be sure and pull out the tick’s head! Then apply alcohol.

Hot Spots

A hot spot is a moist, red, strong-smelling, infected area on the dog's skin. If you see your dog constantly scratching or licking the same spot, check for an oozing, red area. You can treat hot spots yourself:

1. Cut all the hair away from the area.

2. Clean with alcohol or witch hazel.

3. Treat skin with antibacterial powder or spray from your vet, Neosporin spray, or dissolve an aspirin in a cup of black tea and apply the tea with a rag.

4. Clean the area several times a day and be sure it stays dry.

Other Worms

Most puppies and kittens have roundworms. Dogs can also get hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Your vet can test babies and adults for worms. If you are sure your dog has worms, save money by asking your vet for a wormer without a fecal test. Wormers can be bought very cheaply at farm supply stores.


Mites are tiny and hard to see. Some mites cause mange, a disease that causes itching, hair loss, and sores. Ear mites are common. They produce wax in the ears, causing your pet to scratch his ears and shake his head. You can get treatment from your vet or pet stores.

NOTE: The information on this page is not meant to diagnose or prescribe for you. The decision to use, or not to use, any information on this page is the sole responsibility of the reader. Opinions expressed here are those of the site owner.

[Back to top]