There are two main categories of worms: roundworms and tapeworms:
- Roundworms can be present at birth, transferred in the mother’s milk or picked up from dog or cat stools.
- Tapeworms can be picked up from fleas, raw meat, rats and mice.
Why Treat My Dog for Worms?
- Both roundworms and tapeworms can cause ill health in pets (especially puppies and kittens).
- Worm eggs can be a serious risk to health in humans, especially children and pregnant women.
By following basic hygiene measures and by treating your pet for worms at appropriate intervals, you will be able to virtually eliminate the unpleasant effects of these parasites for both you and your pet.
How do I Tell If My Dog has Worms?
There is often no visible sign that your pet has worms.
- Tapeworm segments can sometimes be seen around the back-end of your pet or on your pet’s bedding. The segments look like small grains of greyish-white rice. These are often quickly brushed off or licked off by the pet.
- Round worms are only occasionally passed in the stools. Adult round worms look like white spaghetti. Usually adults are not seen and it is only the eggs that are passed in the stools. Roundworm eggs are microscopic and can not be seen with the naked eye.
- Worm infestation may be diagnosed by analysis of your pet’s stools by the vet. This is not possible until there are adult worms producing eggs.
How Often Should I Treat My Dog?
It’s best to ask your vet how often you should worm your pet as every pet is different. Age and lifestyle affect how often you should treat for worms.
As a general rule, if your dog hunts or scavenges, eats raw meat or has contact with children you should treat for worms every 3–4 weeks. It may be safe to worm your pet every 3 months if none of these risk factors apply. ASK YOUR VET!
In the early months of your pet’s life worming treatment should be given more frequently. ASK YOUR VET!
What Treatment Should I Use?
It is vital to ask your vet for advice. Many of the drugs available without a prescription are not very effective. Your vet will need to see your pet before prescribing prescription only drugs.
- Tablets are a common form of worming treatment. Tablets can be hidden in tasty, smelly food or administered with care into the back of the mouth.
- Spot-ons are now available to treat for roundworms in dogs.
- Liquids, suspensions, pastes and injections are also available.