How often should you worm your dog?
Your beloved canine’s health will always be a concern. Whilst the thought of worms is less than appealing, It is important to know how often you should worm your dog for your dog’s wellbeing and your own.
Why worming is important
The consequences of not worming your dog can be extreme. There are 2 main types of worms present in the UK. Left untreated, these can lead to a number of health conditions and in extreme circumstances, death. The main culprits are roundworms and tapeworms. Not only can these parasites infect your beloved canine, but they can also infect you.
How do you know if your dog has worms?
It is important to be aware that if your dog shows symptoms of worms, there is already an established infestation present.
Signs that your dog has worms include:
- Loss of weight
- Excessive hunger
- A dull coat
- Loss of energy
- Scooting their bottom along the ground
- Having a pot belly
- Visible signs of worms in vomit and faeces
If an infestation has taken hold, worms can easily be identified in your dog’s faeces. Round worms have a long and stingy appearance whereas tapeworms look like grains of rice, often seen joined together in long strands.
Where do they come from?
It is very easy for your dog to pick up worms. Infected dogs pass eggs in their faeces, which if not collected up for the bin, can get mixed in with the soil. Your dog can easily pick these up whilst playing or grooming. If your dog is let off the leash they can also become infected from eating dead animals that contain eggs and larvae. Birds, rodents and even farm animals can pose a threat.
Fleas can also lead to a worm infestation. The eggs of some worms are ingested by fleas. Your dog can then become infected by accidentally eating the fleas, such as when grooming. Worms are especially dangerous for puppies. If your dog has recently had a litter and is feeding pups, worms can be passed via the milk directly to the puppies.
These nasty parasite eggs can even be walked right into your home on the bottom of your shoes. It’s no wonder they are so widespread! If reading this is making your skin crawl, don’t worry! Worms are preventable. The best way to keep your dog safe from worms is through regular treatment.
There are lots of options available giving you choices in how to worm your dog. The most common form of treatment is worming tablets, but spot-ons, pastes, granules, and liquids are also available. It is always best to discuss which option is best for your dog with your veterinarian. There are even combined treatments that will target multiple types of worms.
The standard advice for puppies is to worm them at regular intervals, using a treatment which is suitable for puppies. Best practice is to treat at 2, 4, 6, 8, and finally at 12 weeks of age. Once they are older than 12 weeks of age, moving to a 3-monthly treatment schedule is advised. Of course, these timings may vary depending on the product you use, or other health conditions your dog may have, so it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian.