Ticking the Boxes: Everything You Need to Know about Deworming Your Dog

1. The Importance of Deworming Dogs

Dogs are ideal hosts for worms and other parasites due to their habits of sniffing, licking, and eating anything they come across, including dirt, debris, and feces. Dogs can be infected with various types of worms, including roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Deworming dogs serves several purposes:

  • Worms are extremely common in a dog’s living environment. Even with preventive measures, it is impossible to completely avoid them. For example, a mosquito bite can transmit heartworms, and ingesting fleas can lead to a tapeworm infection.
  • While dogs can become severely ill from parasite infections, they often show no signs of being sick. Infected dogs can shed parasite larvae in their feces, increasing the risk for other animals. The longer parasites go unchecked, the more damage they can cause.
  • Some intestinal parasites in dogs can be transmitted to humans. For example, walking barefoot or working without gloves in contaminated soil or sand can expose humans to hookworms. These parasites can penetrate the skin and develop into larvae.

2. Common Types of Worms in Dogs

a. Roundworms

Roundworms are the most common intestinal parasites in puppies. These worms can be passed from mother to puppies during pregnancy or through the mother’s milk. Puppies can also become infected during their early months from the environment. Though less common, adult dogs can also become infected, especially if their immune systems are compromised. Symptoms of roundworm infection in dogs can include mild abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.


b. Tapeworms

While tapeworms are less common than roundworms, dogs that eat raw meat or prey animals can be at risk of infection. Dogs can also become infected by ingesting fleas while grooming. Tapeworms, also known as flatworms, are typically longer than 15cm. Symptoms of tapeworm infection in dogs can include diarrhea, anal itching, and the presence of small, flat white segments of the tapeworm in the dog’s fur or feces.

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c. Hookworms

The three types of hookworms that can infect dogs are Ancylostoma caninum, Ancylostoma braziliense, and Uncinaria stenocephala. Ancylostoma species are typically found in warm, humid climates, while Uncinaria species are more common in cooler regions. Dogs can become infected by ingesting hookworm larvae from contaminated soil, through the skin, or from their mother’s milk. Hookworms are small worms, approximately 3mm long, and can cause significant blood loss by feeding on tiny blood vessels in the intestines. Symptoms of hookworm infection in dogs can include weakness, weight loss, pale gums, and skin irritation at the site of larval penetration.

3. Deworming Schedule for Dogs

The frequency of deworming dogs depends on their age and lifestyle factors. To minimize the risk of parasite infection for both pets and humans, you can follow the deworming schedule below:

  • For pregnant dogs: treat the mother with Fenbendazole.
    • Before breeding: 1 month prior.
    • During pregnancy: treat the mother daily from the last three weeks of pregnancy until the second week after giving birth, which totals to five consecutive weeks. Administer Fenbendazole at a dose of 50mg/kg once every 24 hours. Studies have shown this method to be safe and effective in preventing intestinal parasites in puppies.
  • Deworm puppies: start deworming at 2 weeks old. Repeat every 2-3 weeks until they reach 12 weeks old. Then, treat them monthly until they reach 6 months old.
  • Deworm adult dogs: deworm every 3 months, depending on their environment and diet. If your dog scavenges, eats cat feces, follows an uncooked diet, or frequently interacts with children, consider deworming more frequently, approximately once a month.
  • Repeat deworming after 15 days to ensure efficacy. If the larvae inside the dog’s body are not eliminated, they can develop into adult worms within 2 weeks.
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4. Types of Dewormers for Dogs

When it comes to deworming products, there are various options available on the market with different prices, ranging from imported to local brands. However, it is best to choose broad-spectrum dewormers that can target multiple types of parasites, including worms living in the dog’s intestines.

  • Panacur C is a popular deworming medication for pregnant dogs that contains Fenbendazole. It is safe for pregnant dogs to consume daily.
  • Endogard Virbac is another broad-spectrum dewormer suitable for puppies, adult dogs, and pregnant dogs. Administer one tablet per 10kg of body weight.
  • Revolution is a liquid dewormer that protects dogs from various parasites, including roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, whipworms, and heartworms. It is suitable for dogs over 6 weeks old and is available in different sizes based on the dog’s weight.

5. Tips for Proper Deworming

  • Only deworm your dog when they are in good overall health and show no signs of sickness, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite. Avoid deworming during extremely hot weather and never use human deworming medication for dogs, unless it is specifically recommended by a veterinarian, as it can be harmful to their liver and kidneys.
  • Deworm your dog in the morning, about 2-3 hours after they have finished eating. The medication will be more effective if the dog is not too full or hungry. If you plan to feed your dog after deworming, wait for about 1-2 hours.
  • You can choose to deworm your dog at home or visit a veterinarian. It is important to pay attention to the correct dosage of the medication. Each age and weight requires a different dosage and type of dewormer. Always weigh your dog before administering the medication to prevent overdosing.
  • During the deworming process, limit direct contact with your dog and wash your hands thoroughly after petting them or cleaning up their waste.
  • Avoid bathing your dog immediately after deworming to ensure the medication’s effectiveness. It is best to let them stay wet for 3-5 days after deworming.
  • If your dog has a heavy worm burden, it is advisable to seek veterinary care for proper treatment. Treating them at home could aggravate the condition.
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6. Side Effects of Deworming

Most deworming medications are generally safe for pets and rarely cause side effects. However, some dogs may experience temporary symptoms such as loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, increased salivation, lethargy, or very rarely, seizures. Certain dewormers may cause the worms in the dog’s intestines to disintegrate, and the dog may pass them in their vomit or feces.

These side effects are usually short-lived and should not be a cause for concern if the dog eats normally, drinks water, and continues to engage in normal activities. However, if the symptoms persist for more than one day, it is recommended to seek veterinary care.

7. Preventive Measures for Dog Worms

The best way to protect your pets is to control harmful parasites, including fleas and mosquitoes, while maintaining a clean living environment. Additionally, you can take the following preventive measures:

  • Keep your dogs free from fleas. You can refer to the guidelines on how to treat and prevent dog fleas.
  • Clean up your pet’s feces regularly and keep your living area tidy to prevent dogs from scavenging or eating waste. Avoid letting your dogs roam freely outside.
  • Wash your hands regularly, especially after petting your dog or cleaning up after them. If you are concerned about worm transmission from dogs, avoid letting them lick or kiss you. Do not allow dogs to sleep on your bed.
  • Maintain your dog’s overall health by ensuring they have a healthy and nutritious diet and regular exercise. This will help protect them from parasite infections and other illnesses.

In conclusion, deworming your dog is an essential part of responsible pet ownership. It not only protects your dog from harmful parasites but also safeguards your own health from potential worm infestations. When deworming your dog, make sure they are in good health and show no signs of illness. The type and dosage of deworming medication will depend on their age and weight. Always remember to follow the recommended guidelines and deworm your dog regularly to prevent parasite infections.


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