You do a lot to keep your pet healthy - making sure he gets plenty of exercise, taking him to the vet for regular checkups, consistently grooming him and feeding him nutritious meals, like the raw dog food diet.

Something you may not have considered, however, is the threat that parasites might have on your dog's or cat's health - ticks and fleas, roundworms, lungworms and tapeworms, for example.

But these can all have an impact on your pet's wellbeing. The Daily Mail reports that a study carried out by Bayer Animal Health, called It's a Jungle Out There, found that millions of British cats and dogs could be infected with such parasites and it's believed that the numbers are on the rise due to recent weather conditions.

According to the newspaper, the mild winter and wet summer have led to an increase in pests like ticks and fleas, while cases of the potentially fatal lungworm are also on the rise, since damp conditions have meant an increase in the slugs that carry the parasite.

More than 2,000 pet owners and 150 vets were questioned during the study, and it turns out that around 78 per cent of animals are not protected against parasites. Since there are some 8.2 million dogs and 7.2 million cats in the UK, this equates to approximately 12 million pets at risk.

The study also found that only around 33 per cent of owners thought parasites were a serious risk to their animals' health, while 59 per cent were unaware that the parasites could transmit potentially fatal diseases.

So what can you do for your pet? Check him regularly for fleas and ticks, and consider a regular application of a product designed to prevent these creepy crawlies from feeding or living on your dog or cat.

Be sure to clean up after your pet by emptying the litter box regularly and patrolling the garden for any droppings - and as unglamorous as it sounds, take a moment to examine the faeces for any signs of parasites. Tapeworm segments look similar to white rice, while roundworms are longer. You can also ask the veterinarian to carry out routine checks.

Written by: Hannah