Dog Worming: Your Complete Guide

Worms are intestinal parasites that can live in a variety of animals. Some worms will only affect certain animals, and others will affect various different animals. Some worm types can also affect humans.

There are four common types of intestinal worms in dogs:

  • roundworms
  • hookworms
  • whipworms
  • tapeworms

Symptoms of infection, as well as the way the worms are picked up, can vary. This is why it is really important to ensure that your dog receives regular worming treatment.

Dogs can pick up worms through:

  • scavenging food outside
  • eating an infected dog’s faeces
  • eating worms and snails
  • fleas

Puppies and younger dogs tend to suffer from worms more than older dogs. However, dogs of all ages can benefit from deworming as a preventative measure.

What is a dog wormer?

A dog wormer is a medication that can either prevent the infection of worms, treat an infection of worms, or both. The practice of removing or preventing worms in dogs is called ‘worming’.

The majority of over the counter worming medications are purely used as a preventative. But there are stronger options out there that can rid your dog of infections. For more severe cases, veterinarian prescribed medication will be needed for treatment.

Dog wormer can come as a tablet, liquid, or granules that are sprinkled on food. There are also pastes available for younger dogs. Which is best for you depends on whether your dog happily takes medication and the risk of worms to your dog.

How often should I worm my dog?

If we are talking about preventing worms, most tablets must be given one every three months. All medications have instructions that must be followed, so this can vary.

However, depending on your dog’s lifestyle, a vet may recommend for worming treatment to be taken more regularly than this. It may even be better for your dog if they have a stronger tablet once every six months.

For the treatment of worms, it is common for a strong tablet to get rid of the worms, then a follow-up tablet three to four weeks later to eradicate any repeated infection.

Never worm your dog more often than the recommended dosage before asking a vet.

How can I tell if my dog has worms?

Some signs your dog has worms are:

  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Increased appetite
  • Sudden bloating
  • Dragging their bottom along the floor (itching)
  • A change in behaviour
  • Anaemia
  • Visible tapeworm segments around your dog’s behind (these usually look like grains of rice)
  • Stunted growth in young puppies

This is not a definitive list; please consult a vet if you’re worried about anything.

How can I prevent my dog from getting worms?

As mentioned, regular worming treatment is vital for the prevention of worms. Don’t leave it until your dog has worms and you have to use wormer as a treatment.

All dogs will actually carry worms almost permanently. When using a wormer, not all worms will be removed. It just prevents the worms from being a burden and taking over, which can make your dog really ill. So regular prevention treatment is so important for maintaining your dog’s balance of worms.

If you have several pets, it is important to worm them all. This includes both cats and dogs – some worms can be passed amongst species, as can fleas, which can cause worms.

A dog and cat snuggling together
Some dogs can pick up worms from felines and vice versa, so it is important to worm the whole household

Can I worm a dog too often?

Yes, it is possible to worm a dog too regularly. Because the wormer releases chemicals which has an effect on a dog’s gastrointestinal system, they could become overwhelmed by the medication.

This can lead to sickness, diarrhoea, and other internal illnesses such as nausea. While it shouldn’t lead to them being permanently ill, it serves them no real benefit and may require vet treatment.

When a wormer is used, worms are paralysed and killed before being excreted through faeces. Waiting around three months before a repeat dose should give their body enough time to recover while keeping on top of any repeated infections.

If you think you’ve given your dog too much wormer, consult a vet ASAP.