Worms are a common nuisance among dog owners. Many types of worms live inside the dog’s intestines. Depending on the type of worms, it can cause serious and sometimes fatal problems for your dog. Whether you suspect worms are affecting your dog’s health or you have an upcoming vet appointment, you should talk to the vet about these concerns.
Our canine expert friends at The Pampered Pup will tell you everything you may need to know about deworming your dog.
Symptoms of Worms
We all hate seeing our best friends go through pain and suffering. Our first instinct is to find the problem and fix it. If you see any of these symptoms, there is a good chance your dog may have worms, so you should call your vet as soon as you can.
Also be aware of the signs of heartworms, as they are extremely dangerous to our canine pals.
- Weight loss
- Change in appetite
- Scooting on their bottom
- Dry coat and overall poor appearance
- Intestinal blockage or pneumonia
Heartworms, in particular, can cause:
- Respiratory problems
- Weight loss and low energy
- Weak pulse
Heartworms can in extreme cases cause:
- Labored breathing
- Pale gums
Worms can very seriously harm your dog’s health. The best prevention is getting them checked regularly. Heartworms in particular are very dangerous and should be checked for regularly. Heartworm preventives do not kill adult heartworms and can be harmful to your pup that has them already.
Tapeworms are usually fairly easy to diagnose, since they can be seen in the stool. However, others need to be diagnosed by searching for microscopic eggs in the stool by a vet. If heartworms are a suspect, then they can usually be found through a blood test. Sometimes more treatments are required, though. Your vet will be able to recommend medications, including preventives.
Puppies are a little different, though. Since they are more in danger of getting and being harmed by worms, they have to be tested regularly. Dogs need to be tested annually, but puppies should be checked two or four times a year.
Since treatment can be expensive and lengthy, here are some helpful tips to prevent worms.
- Take your pet to all their check-ups! This is important anyways to ensure your pup is healthy.
- Prevent and treat fleas as soon as possible. Fleas can be carriers of tapeworm larvae. It’s common for your pet to swallow fleas while self-grooming, exposing them to the worm.
- Ask your vet about the prevention of heartworms. You can give them medicine monthly or a shot semi-annually.
- Instantly pick up your pups’ poop. It can be inconvenient, but it will prevent worms.
- Wash your hands and teach others to wash their hands also.
Always consult your vet before deworming your dog. If you do choose to do it at home, make sure you call the vet and get advice first. No deworming medication is one that kills all types, so it is best to get their opinions first. There are multiple types of deworming medication:
Puppies: Deworm every 2 weeks from 2 weeks of age to 3 months, then deworm monthly until 6 months of age.
Dogs: Deworm at least every year, but preferably every 3-6 months.
Make sure you consider your dog’s weight, overall health, and what parasite your dog has. If you aren’t sure, always ask your vet.
Here are some common mistakes
- Know your dogs’ weight. If you are picking up worm prevention medicine at the store, there can be serious consequences to not picking the correct weight. You can underdose or overdose your pup by doing this.
- Administering the medicine without making sure it is swallowed. This can be ineffective.
- If you have two or more pets, only treating one. If one dog gets treated, they should all get treated to stop spreading.
- Not seeing a vet. The best way to treat a dog with worms is to see a vet. Having a professional examine the condition, weight, etc. can help you treat your dog correctly.
Deworming: What to Expect
You should definitely monitor your dog after given worming treatment. It’s best to do this in a calm environment. If given orally, then it isn’t unheard of for the pet to vomit the medicine up. Make sure they keep the medicine down for at least two to three hours.
After a few days, you may still be seeing worms in the stool. This can cause a lot of stress. Keep in mind this is normal depending on the type of worm! It’s actually a very good sign, because they are no longer living inside your pup. Some dogs will require multiple treatments, though. The vet will be able to give you a schedule and explain the case more clearly based on your dog’s condition.
Yay! Your pup is free of worms. However, you still have to stay aware of the symptoms and prevention methods to keep it from happening again. There is no vaccine or 100% chance of them never getting infected again, so being aware and preventing this every chance you get is the only way to keep your buddy from being infected by worms again.
Hopefully this article has helped you understand worms and the process of deworming them. Worms certainly gives us pet owners the creeps. All us dog owners want our buddies to live the best and healthiest lives they can live. The best way of making sure they do is make sure they go to all their vet check-ups and being aware.