Worms in dogs are a worry for owners. If you know the signs to look out for you can get your dog quick treatment and keep them in top health.
Worms in dogs
Discovering your beloved dog has worms can be a shock but it’s so common that it shouldn’t be too surprising. At some point in their lives most dogs will encounter worms. For many, they cause no lasting problems. A few dogs will have their health seriously impacted, which is why getting them wormed regularly is important to keep them in good health.
Fortunately, regular worming as part of your dog’s health plan can keep the parasites at bay and ensure your canine companion remains in top condition.
What kinds of worms can my dog get?
There are many types of worm a dog can get:
What are the most common worms found in dogs?
The most common ones in dogs are roundworms and tapeworms which can affect other animals such as cats and rabbits, as well as people. Lungworm is also becoming more common in the UK. It can make your pet seriously unwell and is sometimes fatal.
Signs and symptoms of worms in dog
Spotting worms in your dog’s faeces, or around their bottoms, is never nice but for some canines that’s the only way you’ll know they have them. Other dogs don’t even have those tell-tale signs and you should look out for other symptoms.
One of the classic signs is scooting or bottom shuffling – the worms can irritate your dog’s bottom as they wriggle out causing them to try and relieve the itch. Other symptoms include visible worms in your dog’s faeces, visible worms around their back passage or in fur, and visible worms in vomit. They may also suffer from a bloated stomach, weight loss, increased appetite, constant hunger, low energy, difficulty breathing, coughing or fainting and diarrhoea, sometimes containing blood. Lungworm can lead to excessive bleeding.
What is worming treatment?
There are many different treatments to clear up a worm infestation and/or to prevent them. Some are given orally while others are a topical spot-on treatment. Some will get rid of just one type of worm while others will cover several species.
Dogs will come into contact with worms during their lifetime, but regular worming can prevent any infection from taking hold.
Adult dogs need a dewormer roughly every three months though, your vet may advise you to give it more or less frequently depending on their lifestyle and activities.
Why should I give my dog worming treatment?
For some dogs, worms cause no symptoms at all but for others they can be more serious. The more established an infection, the more likely it is to cause health problems. Rarely, in severe cases it can cause death.
Worms from your dog can also infect you and your family – another reason why it’s important to give them regular worming treatment. Roundworms eggs, found in dog faeces, can contaminate surfaces. Flies can spread the eggs and if a person touches a contaminated surface and then their mouth, they can become infected.
Children are most at risk and although it’s rare, if they ingest eggs, worms can develop inside their gut and can also cause blindness or skin rashes. Roundworm eggs can remain infectious in the ground for years which is why it’s important to clear up after your dog quickly and wash hands regularly.
What age should I get my puppy wormed for the first time?
Your puppy will have special worming treatment depending on its age and weight though typically, worming should start at three weeks old. They’ll then have a worming treatment every two weeks until they reach 16 weeks.
After that you’ll need to worm as often as your vet advises based on their environment, lifestyle and activities.
How do I prevent my dog getting worms?
You can’t prevent your dog getting worms during their lifetime, but you can treat them regularly to make sure worms don’t cause any lasting problems. How often they need to be treated will depend on their lifestyle, and your vet can advise further.
How should I worm a dog?
Worming should be done regularly to prevent reinfection and if you have more than one dog in your household, then treat them at the same time. Many treatments come in tablet form which you can hide in food or a favourite treat. Some treatments come as granules which can be easier to conceal if your dog refuses a tablet.
Spot on treatments placed on the skin work well too, just make sure you do it on the back of the head where your dog can’t lick it off. Many parasiticide products may have environmental impacts, which we are committed to reducing. You can discuss with your vet ways to help reduce the detrimental effects. Some parasites will also be resistant to certain medications. Your vet will be able to advise you what is best for your pet.
Spread the cost of worming treatments with the Medivet Health Plan
When you sign up to the Medivet Health Plan, your dog’s worming treatments are included in the monthly cost. This enables you to spread the cost of worming treatments and receive reminders when a worming is due.
Other benefits of the Medivet Healthcare Plan include:
- Full course of vaccinations
- Complete flea, worm and tick protection for the year
- Six month health check by a vet
- Discounts on vet care, dental and food
- Microchipping (if required)