Parasite Facts for Frenchies
Keep the Pests Away! Parasite Facts for Frenchies
In spite of the old adage ‘lie down with dogs, get up with fleas’, most of us would be more than grossed out to find out that our French Bulldog has parasites. They may be smaller than some breeds, but they’re just as susceptible to the pests that plague other pets, and it’s important to include parasite control in your furry family member’s health care plan. Parasites like intestinal worms, fleas, ticks and heartworm are not only dangerous for your dog’s health, but they can sure make your pup feel miserable, too. To keep your Frenchie feeling their very best, here’s a quick guide to common parasite prevention.
Our Frenchies can fall victim to a wide range of parasites that reside in their intestinal tract, which can be particularly problematic in a breed that’s already known for gastrointestinal problems. Roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms, in addition to single-celled parasites like giardia and coccidia, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and anemia for your pup. Some of these parasites also have the potential to be passed on to other pets or people, too, so it’s critical to keep them under control! As a puppy, your new family member should be de-wormed several times, and a stool sample checked at the first appointment with their veterinarian, as well as yearly thereafter.
‘But I can’t see anything in my dog’s poop!’ you may say. Well, keep in mind that a pooch infected with these parasites may not always show visible signs that they’re infected. Parasite eggs, passed in your dog’s poop, are microscopic, and most dogs will only pass visible worms in their stool if they’re infected with a very large number of them! Cleaning up your dog’s poop daily and regular fecal checks for adult dogs are always a good idea to prevent these pests from taking up residence.
Our small furry friends can also become inhabited by these most persistent parasites. Fleas can affect any dog, and will sometimes cause discomfort in the form of itchy bites for us Frenchie parents as well! Some dogs develop an allergy to flea saliva, causing a condition called flea allergy dermatitis, which causes scabs, sores, and uncontrollable itching – definitely no fun for your little fur-face. A good way to check for the presence of fleas is to stand your pup on a white towel or sheet, and rub your hands through their fur. If flea dirt (a black, pepper-like substance) falls onto the towel and turns red or rusty when wetted with water, it’s time to face the facts – your Frenchie has unwanted hitchhikers.
The best prevention for fleas often depends on the area in which you live and your Frenchie’s social schedule. If your dog regularly visits with doggie friends, or attends boarding or dog daycare, the chance of picking up a hitchhiking flea is much greater, of course. In these cases, or in areas with extreme flea populations, it’s best to use monthly flea prevention from your vet for your Frenchie friend, as well as a household treatment that’s safe for pets to kill flea eggs and larvae.
Ticks, a species of arachnid, are like tiny heat seeking missiles, and they’re experts at finding a warm body to feed on. They hang out on tall grass, branches or leaves with their front legs outstretched; when your dog walks by, presto! They’ve just turned into the next tasty tick meal. The tick then finds an ideal place on your pup to attach their mouthparts to and feed from, dropping off when they’ve had their fill.
Although ticks themselves aren’t particularly uncomfortable for your Frenchie, they can transmit some pretty serious diseases like Lyme, erlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever to our canine companions. During spring, summer and fall, or year round for Frenchies who live in warmer climates, check your pup for ticks after any outdoor adventures, paying special attention to their ears, armpits, and between their toes. Remove ticks gently using a pair of tweezers to grasp (not crush!) the tick and pull with gentle traction away from your dog’s body, making sure to get the mouthparts. Scrub the area with warm water and mild soap afterwards, and make sure to talk to your vet about any tick-related concerns.
Some dog owners may not realize the power of a single bite, but when it comes to mosquitoes, that’s all it takes to infect their pup with heartworm. Larvae pass from the mosquito into the bloodstream of your Frenchie, and in time develops into an adult worm, living and reproducing in the arteries around their heart and lungs. Without treatment (which is expensive and time consuming), infected dogs can become lethargic, have trouble breathing, and might eventually develop heart failure. Safe and effective preventives are available that kill the larvae before they have a chance to mature.
The good news is that most of these parasites can be stopped in their tracks before they can do lasting harm to your pup, though it’s essential that you check with your dog’s doctor before giving any parasite treatment. A Frenchie’s sensitive skin and digestive tract may mean that many ‘over the counter’ types of products just aren’t ideal choices, and it’s important to get the dosage of any parasite medication just right in order to effectively keep your pup safe and healthy.