Worming your dog or puppy

Parasites can be a worrying concern for pet parents. They could be common in our environment and might have serious health implications for us, as well as our dogs.

Fortunately, there’s a large range of deworming products available. Here’s some information on how to use those products to help keep our dogs safe, healthy and parasite-free.

How often you should worm your dog depends on your dog’s age. Adult dogs generally need deworming at least every three months. However, this might need to be done more often depending on your dog’s health and your living environment.

Benefits of worming your dog

Regular deworming of your pets can be important to keep them healthy, as well as keeping you and your family safe from parasite diseases. It can also prevent your dog from spreading parasites to other animals.


There are two main reasons why your dog needs to be regularly wormed:


  1. Their health: parasite diseases can cause your dog a range of health issues, such as anaemia, diarrhoea, weakness and lethargy, weight loss, and even death.
  2. Your health: dogs with worms can potentially bring serious health problems for your and your family, such as blindless and, in the worse case scenario, death. Puppies are particularly susceptible to worms and so need to be treated more regularly.
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How do dogs get worms?

Here are some ways dogs can get worms:

Ingesting contaminated soil, or another animal's faeces containing worm eggs.

Ingesting contaminated meat.

Eating an infected flea.

Heartworm larvae transmitted by infected mosquitoes.

Larvae passing through the skin.

Puppies can be infested with worms in utero before birth, or by drinking contaminated mother's milk in the first few weeks of life.

Worming medication usually kill the worms present at the time of intake, acting as a short term medication. Since there are many ways dogs can pick up worms, it’s important to deworm them on a regular basis.


Types of worms

There are 6 main types of worms that can affect dogs’s health:

1. Roundworm

Roundworm infestation can occur from eating soil containing eggs, in utero, from their mother’s milk or from contaminated meat. Roundworms can also cause serious health issues in humans, specially children, including blindness.

If your dog is infested with roundworm, some of the symptoms are diarrohea, vomiting, overall poor condition and pot belly. 

2. Hookworm

Dogs can become infected with hookworm by eating contaminated soil or meat, from a puppy's mother in utero or via her milk, or even via the larvae directly entering the skin. Hookworms can be potentially deadly to puppies, causing anaemia and even death.

Some symptoms of hookworm infestation are diarrhoea with blood, poor growth and potbellied appearance.

3. Whipworm

Dogs can get whipworm from eating contaminated soil. Its eggs can survive in the environment for up to five years. Some symptoms of whipworm infestation are severe bloody diarrhoea, weight loss and anaemia.



4. Tapeworm

Tapeworm can be quite common in dogs, usually transmitted by ingesting an infected flea.

It can be diagnosed by little segments of tapeworm on a dog's bottom, causing them to scoot their bottom along the ground, bitting at it and weight loss.

5. Hydatid Tapeworm

Hydatid Tapeworm can have a high risk to human health. Dogs can get infected by consuming raw meat, usually sheep or kangaroo. Infected dogs tend to show no clinical signs, but can infect humans, who can develop severe illness that might require invasive surgery.

6. Heartworm

Heartworm can be transmitted by an infected mosquito biting your dog. Heartworm infestation can cause blockages in the heart, lethargy, general poor condition, coughing and even heart failure.




How do I know if my dog has worms?

There are several signs that can indicate your dog has worms. However, they can also be infested and show no signs at all.

Some common signs from worm infestation are:

  • Diarrhoea, sometimes with blood 
  • Pale gums or anaemia 
  • Poor growth 
  • Lethargy 
  • Vomit
  • Scooting and biting at bottom
  • Worms in poo, or visible worm segments on bottom
  • Dull coat
  • Pot belly
  • Weight loss

If you are concerned about your dog’s health, your vet can help diagnose and recommend the right treatment for any potential worm infestation.

How often should I worm my dog?

Your dog’s deworming frequency depends on factors such as your dog’s age, your location and parasites you’d like to target.


Puppies: As a general rule, you can give your puppy an intestinal wormer every two weeks, from two weeks of age to twelve weeks of age. Puppies may then be dewormed once a month until they are six months of age. 


Pregnant dogs: Pregnant female dogs should be wormed towards the end of the pregnancy, after day 45, and then wormed with their puppies at regular intervals.


Dogs over 6 months of age: Generally, dogs over six months of age can have dewormer medicine every 1 to 3 months.


If there’s a risk of hydatid tapeworm by consuming raw meat, dogs should be wormed at minimum every six weeks with products containing praziquantel.


If there’s no risk of hydatid tapeworm, adult dogs can be dewormed every 3 months.

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What kind of dog worming medicine should I use?

There are several options when it comes to worming dogs, such as tablets, spot on products, chews and syrups. Each of them cover a different combination of parasites, as well as different dosing frequency.

When choosing any kind of worm medicine, it’s essential to know your dog’s weight, as the dosage will depend on it.

It’s important to make sure that, regardless of the product you choose, your dog is:

Protected against heartworm with a monthly chew, tablet, spot on or annual injection.

Protected against roundworm, hookworm, whipworm and tapeworm.

Wormed at least every 6 weeks if there’s any risk of hydatid tapeworm. If there’s no risk, your dog can be wormed every 6 months against roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, and tapeworm.

It can be beneficial to discuss your dog’s worm management with your vet as it might change based on individual needs as well as environmental considerations.

How to give your dog a worming tablet

To give your dog a tablet, you can:

Gently open their month and use the other hand to place the tablet in the back of the mouth. Once your dog closes its mouth, rub gently under the chin and keep stroking until your see them lick, which indicates they’ve swallowed it.

Give them an edible chewing tablet.

Hide the tablet in a small amount of their favourite food, such as cheese or peanut butter.

Dog worming tablet

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