Dog parasites, a look at four common parasites in dogs

There are many parasites that can affect your dog. Some of these dog parasites dwell on the skin, while others invade the body. Some of them can damage internal organs. Let’s take a look at some of the common parasites in dogs.

Ear Mites

Ear mites usually invade the ear canal, but can live anywhere on your dog’s body. These mites are very infectious and will readily infect nearby animals. If your dog has an infestation of ear mites, he will scratch his ears and shake his head frequently. The eardrum can become damaged and caused permanent hearing loss if the condition is left untreated.


Hookworms are some of the next common dog parasites. These internal parasites live in the small intestine. They attach to the intestinal wall and suck blood. This can lead to severe anemia. If left untreated, it also causes severe hemorrhaging, diarrhea, and death.

Hookworms can be treated with an injected or oral medication. However, this medication is only effective in killing adult worms and not larvae. Treatment will have to be repeated in a month or so when the larvae have matured into adults and can be killed with the medication.


Lice are also common parasites in dogs. They either cause damage by chewing on your dog’s skin or sucking his blood. The only way lice can be transmitted is if your dog comes into direct contact with an infected dog.

Lice can cause severe itching, hair loss, and poor coat of hair. Pyrethrin shampoo will effectively get rid of these dog parasites. You will need to shampoo your dog at least twice, as most of them won’t be killed at first.


Most dog owners have at least heard of heartworms. These parasites live in the heart and blood vessels that connect the lungs to the heart. A severe infestation can result in hundreds of these worms living in your dog.

These dog parasites are dangerous because they can block blood flow through the chambers and vessels in the heart. If blood backs up, your dog’s liver may also be damaged. Sometimes, dogs with an infestation of heartworms will die of sudden heart failure.