How to prevent ringworm in dogs

Written by ryn gargulinski
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How to prevent ringworm in dogs
Public parks and pools are danger zones for ringworm (Photo of Phoebe by Ryn Gargulinski)

Ringworm is a fungus that causes red, scaly patches, broken hair and hair loss and lesions with a ringlike appearance on you dog's skin. It is most common in young dogs and puppies but can also affect older dogs. While ringworm usually heals itself, even without treatment, it can be spread to humans and other animals. One of the best ways to deal with it is to prevent it in the first place.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Keep pet areas clean. Be fastidious about the housekeeping of your dog's crate, kennel, play area, bed and other places he likes to frequent. The ringworm fungus thrives in dark, damp places where there are piles of hair and other debris.

  2. 2

    Research your groomer. One of the most common ways for the ringworm fungus to be transmitted is through grooming clippers and other supplies. Make sure your groomer sterilises any tools between clients and keeps the salon clean.

  3. 3

    Research your doggy day care centre. Make sure the dog hotel or day care you use is also clean, regularly disinfected and has a good reputation. One of the best ways to find both a groomer and day care is through word of mouth, through your veterinarian or through other dog owners who have had good results.

  4. 4

    Watch for other infected pets. Contact with other infected dogs, cats or other animals is a sure-fire way for ringworm to infect your own dog. Use cation when bringing your dog to public parks, kennels, dog runs, dog shows, animal fairs and other areas where infected pets may have been. If you see an infected pet, remove your dog immediately and check for signs of the disease to treat it immediately. Vets can scan your pet with an ultraviolet light to catch the early stages of ringworm if you are worried about a potential infection.

  5. 5

    Stop the digging. Infected soil and rodents are other common ways dogs can pick up ringworm. If your dog has a penchant for digging, break him of the habit. Every time he starts to dig, firmly reprimand him with a curt "No" then distract him with a new toy or game.

  6. 6

    Quarantine any new animals. If you have pets and are bringing a new dog or puppy into the home, separate the new animal in its own area for about a week to make sure the new pet is not infected.

Tips and warnings

  • While a ringworm vaccine for cats is on the market and used in catteries, there are no reliable vaccines for dogs.
  • Not all animals that are ringworm carriers will show the symptoms. Stay vigilant.

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