Dogs and worms are so closely associated with each other. Wherever dogs live and play, they can potentially get worms. In general, dogs that lick or sniff everything in their way, such as poop or garbage, can get worms more often. When an infected dog or puppy comes into contact or plays with other animals, it may transmit worms.
When you take your pet to the vet, they will look for different signs such as vomiting, diarrhoea, licking or chewing under the tail, cough, weight loss, or difficulty breathing and if these symptoms are apparent they will likely diagnose it as a worm infestation in your dog. It is not possible to prevent your puppies from contracting worms, but this problem can be controlled through regular use of deworming treatment.
Here we will discuss the facts of how often to worm dogs or puppies, the dog’s deworming schedule, and how you will come to know that your dog needs worming.
How often to worm dogs? Your Dog Worming Schedule Explained
To control worms in dogs, the best way to do this is by using a preventive strategy because once your dog starts showing the sign of worms, it means that the worms have already done their damage. When you give your dog wormers, it will remove all the worms from the digestive tract, but it will not prevent further infestation.
So it is best to use the deworming program throughout the year. The frequency of deworming depends on your dog’s age, product, and lifestyle. The puppy worming schedule is different in different areas, but according to UK vets, puppies are dewormed at the age of two weeks and then every two to three weeks until they reach 12 weeks of age.
After this, a monthly deworming program is advised until six months of age, and then for the rest of life, deworming is recommended every 3 months. The deworming schedule is different for those dogs that like to scavenge through the garbage, or if you have young children, or if you live in a high-risk infestation area.
How to know if your puppy needs worming?
If your puppy is infected with worms, he will show the signs of having worms, but it is evident that not all infected puppies will show the signs of worms. That is why regular deworming treatment is essential, whether or not your puppy is showing signs of worms.
The most common signs that show that your puppies need worming are:
- Listlessness and weakness
- Lack in proper growth
- Weight loss
- Stool full of mucus, worms and blood
The above symptoms, other than worms in the stool, are not a direct and clear indicator of worms, so always consult your vet about it.
How to know your dog needs worming?
It’s challenging to diagnose worms in dogs, so don’t worry if you misdiagnose it. Some symptoms can make the presence of worms more easy to diagnose, but other symptoms may not directly suggest worms, and some dogs might not even show any symptoms. This is why a regular and consistent course of worming treatments are vital to protect your dog.
However, there are some more obvious signs and symptoms that can indicate to you whether or not your dog needs deworming:
- Worms in pet vomit and faeces
- Low mood and weakness
- Weight loss
- Vomiting or diarrhoea
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen stomach
- Blockage of intestine
- Coughing along with bleeding
How can dogs get worms in the first place?
There are different ways that dogs can get worms in the first place. The most common ways are:
Worm eggs eaten accidentally
Worm eggs are available everywhere in the environment, and your dog can get them when he walks outside and smells and licks different things. Some worms can remain in the ground for a long time, like roundworms that are transmitted in the faeces of infected animals and can survive for years.
Another bit of bad news is that a female worm can lay up to 85,000 eggs a day, so you can understand why the chances of your dog accidentally eating parasites and contracting worms can be quite high!
Worms eaten during hunting
If your dog likes to hunt when he goes outdoors, or you have a hunting dog, there is a high chance that your dog will get worms when he eats any infected animal, such as a bird or a rodent. If your dog likes to hunt outdoors, a monthly deworming treatment is recommended.
Dogs can also get worms during their grooming time. There are different worms that can adhere to your dog’s coat, and when your dog grooms themself they can ingest the worm eggs, and then an infection/infestation will develop.
By ingesting fleas
One of the most common worms, tapeworms, are spread by ingesting a very different parasite, the flea. When a dog ingests any fleas that carry tapeworm eggs, it will result in the development of adult tapeworms in the gut.
Worms from mother milk
Puppies that are nursing their mother can also get worms. The most common is the roundworm that can be transmitted during lactation. Therefore, puppies that are nursing their mothers are at high risk of parasites, and their deworming is necessary far more frequently.
What are the different types of worms dogs can have?
There is a long list of worms dogs can get, but the most common type of dog worms are listed below.
Roundworms (Toxacaris spp and Toxocara spp) can infect puppies through their mother’s milk. That is why the vet recommends deworming the puppies and their nursing mother with a registered and safe dewormer.
Roundworms can also infect dogs and can be spread through soil or rodents. In dogs, roundworms appear spaghetti-shaped and are shed in faeces or vomit.
Tapeworms (Echinococcus spp, Taenia spp, Dipylidium spp) can infect your dog and are transmitted by infected carcasses of sheep, rodents, or rabbits, or by fleas. Tapeworms can be identified in the faeces of dogs in the form of segments and appear on the underside of the dog as grains of rice.
Hookworms and Whipworms
Hookworms can severely affect young puppies and are transferred through breast milk, but these worms are not common in the UK.
Dogs can get lungworm (Angiostrongylus vasorum) when they eat snails or slugs. The lungworm is different from other worms as it lives in the dog’s blood vessels and then affects their lungs.
Dirofilaria immitis, also known as heartworm, is not a common worm in the UK, but your dog can still get it if you often travel abroad with your furry companion. That is why its preventive treatment is given to dogs during the holiday season—dogs can contract heartworms from an infected mosquito.
What do vets use to deworm dogs?
There are different approaches available that can help deworm your dog, but the most common methods are the spot-on treatment, or deworming tablets. It is best to consult your vet and use the best possible treatment to kill the worms.
According to the MSD Veterinary manual, these drugs are approved to use in the UK for worm infestation of dogs and cats.
|Drugs Approved for Cats in UK||Drugs Approved for Dogs in UK|
|Milbemycin oxime + praziquantel||Selamectin|
|Selamectin||Febantel + pyrantel embonate|
|Emodepside + praziquantel||Praziquantel + febantel + pyrantel embonate|
|Moxidectin + imidacloprid||Milbemycin oxime + praziquantel|
|Praziquantel + pyrantel embonate||Praziquantel + oxantel embonate + pyrantel embonate|
Always consult your vet before using any drug in your dog.
How long does it take for worms to leave dogs?
Most anti-parasitic treatments start working after 2 to 6 hours of administration and begin to kill worms. However, different worms have different modes of action; some first paralyze the worms and then kill them. Most worms will be visible in the stool after deworming, although it may seem unsightly, but it is a good sign because it means that the worms are no longer present in your pet.
How long do dog worming tablets take to work?
Deworming tablets also take the same 2-6 hours to work. Some dewormers work in a different way – they first kill the worms and then break them into pieces, so you may not see any complete worms in your dog’s stool.
However, if the worms are present in large numbers in the dog’s body, they may be fully visible. In severe worm burden, worms can also appear in vomit.
Do all dogs need worming?
All dogs need deworming; whether they live indoors or outdoors, the reason is that dogs have a habit of sniffing and licking everywhere, so there is a high chance that they can get worms this way. So regular deworming is essential.
Another reason for deworming in dogs is that when an anti-parasitic drug is given to dogs, it does not always eradicate the worms entirely, but significantly reduces the burden on them. It is therefore best to maintain a regular programme of worming treatment all year round.
All dogs or puppies can suffer from worms, so regular deworming is very important in dogs. It is best to start deworming puppies from 2-3 weeks of age and continue for the rest of their lives. Different worms in dogs need a different type of medicine, so it’s best to consult your veterinarian and use the best and most suitable anti-parasitic medication.