Intestinal parasites can be very damaging to both pets and people. In fact, of the five most common parasites found in cats and dogs, all are considered zoonotic. This means that they can be transferred from pets to humans.
The major issue with intestinal parasites is that it's often difficult to spot symptoms in the early stages of infection. That's why veterinarians and animal experts place such importance on a healthy species-appropriate diet. After all, prevention is always better than cure.
With this in mind, we'll offer some easy-to-follow advice on protecting your pet (and your family) from intestinal parasites.
Keep a Clean Yard
It may seem like common sense, but it's amazing how easy it is to miss a gift left on your lawn by the neighbor's cat or dog. Intestinal parasites can live in feces and soil for quite some time, so it's extremely important to keep a close eye on where your pet (or your neighbor's pet) poops, and to clean it up immediately.
Ideally, you’ll want to watch your pet as they go outside to do their business so you can be sure they don't find anything you may have missed earlier. This will help reduce the risk of them ingesting feces that contain parasites.
Watch Where You Walk
This point is mostly for dog owners who take their dogs for regular walks through the neighborhood. Dogs love new smells, and they'll stick their nose anywhere they can find a distinctive odor. Of course, it's great to let your dog enjoy their time outdoors, but make sure to pay close attention to what they are sniffing.
Other owners may not be as sanitary as yourself, and you may find that some dump their dog's poop into ditches along the road or behind bushes. You'll also want to be careful if the area is known for stray animals. The likelihood that they are infected with intestinal parasites is exceptionally high, and your dog could pick up a nasty parasite if they come into contact with their feces.
Know Your Area
Your neighborhood or city may be a high-risk area in terms of intestinal parasites, but how are you to know? The obvious answer would be to check if there is a large stray population locally, but even areas with very few strays and clean parks can still have an unexpectedly high rate of intestinal parasites in pets.
Please ask your veterinarian for more information about the risk of your pet contracting intestinal parasites in your local area.
Avoid Standing Water
You may have heard this before, but standing water in a yard where pets play is never a good idea. Large puddles, excess water in planters, and even ponds can be the ideal breeding ground for parasites of all kinds. And just one drink can see your pet pick up an unwanted guest.
If you can't avoid having standing water in your yard, consider covering it with wire mesh or plastic sheeting to prevent your pet from taking a drink. Also, make sure that there's a fresh supply of clean drinking water available at all times and never leave water in your pet's bowl for long periods.
Have Your Pet Checked Regularly
Taking your pet for regular checkups with your veterinarian is an essential part of maintaining their health. Your veterinarian will let you know how often your pet needs to have a checkup as this can vary depending on their age and overall health. What they may not suggest is a fecal check.
Bring fresh feces along to the checkup and ask your veterinarian to check for parasites. While you may feel that you're being overprotective towards your pet, this is a common practice and one that every pet owner should carry out at least once a year.
Add Coconut Oil and Fiber to Your Pet's Diet
As we mentioned in our previous post on how coconut oil supports your pet's digestive system, the lauric acid in coconut oil helps keep parasites at bay. In addition, coconut fiber has been shown to expel intestinal worms from the GI tract.
In order to protect your pet against intestinal parasites, please choose a high-quality oil such as CocoTherapy virgin coconut oil. Our oil contains high levels of lauric acid which breaks down the cellular wall of parasites in your pet's digestive tract.
It is also a good idea to add CocoTherapy Coconut Chips to your pet's diet to help eliminate any existing intestinal parasites. Our chips are all-natural, easily digestible, and support your pet's overall intestinal health.
When using coconut oil as a preventative measure against intestinal parasites, only a very small amount is needed to protect your pet's health.
Looking for information about protecting your pet against external parasites? Check out our previous post, How Coconut Oil Can Protect Your Pet Against Fleas and Ticks.