Take Action Against Pet Parasites -What We Need To Know

We all know that life would be much poorer without our dogs. In fact, a whopping 78% of people in London said that their dog’s ability to understand their feelings and provide comfort was the main reason for having a dog in their lives. This was also one of the top three reasons in the UK for living with a dog. But a new survey indicates that we may inadvertently be putting their health and ours at risk from parasites.

The survey of over 1000 dog owners in the UK carried out by Pet Parasite Action has found that while 85% of us happily hug our dogs, nearly a third also found pet parasites on ourselves or our children. And worryingly most of us don’t know which parasites pose the greatest risk to our pets and families.

The survey found that the majority of people let their pet sleep on their bed, sit on their sofa or lap and even lick their faces. A few go one step further, letting their pet lick the family’s plates and sit at the dinner table. Over a third of people say they never think about the parasites their pet might be hosting, despite the potential risks. 

UK TV presenter Jenni Falconer is backing a campaign which aims to raise awareness of the need to treat our pets for parasites. “As a dog owner and a mum I want to be sure I do the best thing for my pet and my family. During the Pet Parasite Action campaign I’m encouraging all pet owners to visit their vet for a simple way to help protect their pet against parasites inside and out, including those that might be harmful to rest of the family.  Let’s act now to help protect all the members of our family, furry or otherwise.”

So what do we need to know about parasites?


Lungworms Worry Us Most But Are Harmless To People

Lungworm worries dog owners most with 74% saying they are concerned about this parasite. Lungworm is certainly a growing threat - cases are increasing and spreading throughout the UK into previously unaffected areas.

While 82% of dog owners are able to correctly identify that lungworm could be fatal to their pets, 43% thought dog lungworm posed the greatest risk to human health when actually it’s harmless to people.


Ticks Pose A Greater Risk Than We Realise

Over a third of survey respondents (36%) said they are worried about ticks but just 48% realise that ticks can cause fatalities in dogs because of the diseases they can transmit. Also only 28% recognise that ticks (as a transmitter of Lyme disease in people) are a risk to human health.

The threat from ticks to pets and people is also growing: in recent years there has been an increase in tick numbers across the UK due to changing weather patterns and a growing population of deer, which host ticks.


Roundworms Are A Threat To Human Health

The parasite that we worry about least according to the survey is probably one of the most concerning.

Just 15% said they were worried about roundworms and only 7% correctly say they think roundworms could threaten human health. Yet if accidentally eaten, eggs from the roundworm Toxocara poses a significant threat to human health, potentially causing blindness or neurological disease – especially in children.

One in four people doesn’t realise that their pet could have parasites which might not be visible to the naked eye, particularly the microscopic eggs they produce.

We Aren’t Great At Treating Our Pets For Parasites

Around 1 in 6 say that it’s been about a year since they last treated their pet for ticks, lungworm or roundworm and 23% say that they don’t know when their pet was last treated for lungworm.

Treatment Is Easy & Cost Effective

A quick trip to your local veterinary surgery will provide your family and pet with all the protection they need. Call your vet today and make an appointment. Your pet and your family will thank you for it.


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