How often should you worm a dog? It is ideal for dogs to get dewormed every 3 months, but some dogs need it more frequently than others. However, caution should be taken when deworming, as overdosing can lead to undesirable effects.
Let us discuss the most appropriate worming schedule for dogs. You will also learn how to avoid overdosing on your dogs with dewormers.
Worming Frequency in Adult Dogs May Vary
It is generally recommended to deworm adult dogs at least 4 times a year. Each treatment should be administered at least every 3 months. However, this only serves as a rough guideline.
The deworming frequency in dogs can be adjusted according to certain factors, particularly the type of lifestyle and dewormer used.
Deworming Schedule Based on Lifestyle
Some dogs need to be dewormed more often than others due to their living environments. If your four-legged friend spends most of his time indoors, deworming every 3 months is a good rule to follow.
It is often asked: “Do dogs need to be wormed every month?” Not all dogs need to be wormed every month.
This type of worming schedule is more suitable for canines frequently exposed to the great outdoors and those that scavenge for carcasses or rubbish. This is due to them having a higher probability of contracting intestinal worms.
How often can you deworm a dog if you have susceptible family members? Note that dog-to-human parasite transmission is possible, and some people are more vulnerable to this danger.
If your family members include small children and individuals with a compromised immune system, deworming your dog every 1–2 months is highly advised.
Deworming Based on the Brand of Dog Dewormer
Many brands of dog dewormers are commonly administered at 3-month intervals, including:
- Worm Screen
However, some dog dewormers require a once-a-month application, such as Sentry HC WormX and Interceptor Plus.
Do not to confuse them for parasite preventatives such as the Verm-X, Trifexis, and Simparica Trio, which are also typically administered monthly.
Deworming Frequency of Dogs on Raw Food Diet
“How often should you worm a dog on raw food?” is another question that we often hear from dog owners.
Monthly worming treatment is advised for dogs on a raw food diet. This is because uncooked meat can be a breeding ground for many harmful bacteria as well as worms.
Whilst meticulous meal preparation greatly reduces the danger of intestinal parasite transmission; the risk is always there. Regular worming will give dog parents peace of mind that their dogs are safe from worms whilst on a raw diet.
Puppies Require More Frequent Deworming
Knowing when to worm puppies is very important as they are more susceptible to contracting worms than adult dogs.
Many of them are born with intestinal parasites, which they typically acquire from their mom whilst in the womb. Ingesting contaminated milk is another way worms get transmitted to puppies.
So how often do you worm a puppy? Puppy worming needs to begin early. Ideally, young dogs that are 3–12 weeks of age should be dewormed weekly.
Then, worm them monthly until they reach 6 months old. Once they are over 6 months of age, set their deworming schedule to every 3 months.
Pregnant Dogs Require Deworming Too
Stress caused by pregnancy in dogs can trigger dormant parasites to wake up and begin reinfesting their host. This condition is called reactivation or recrudescence. It puts not only pregnant dogs in danger but also their unborn pups.
Reactivation allows intestinal parasites to travel through the placenta and infect the puppies in the womb. As we have mentioned, they can also be passed on through the infected milk of a lactating mother.
Worming pregnant dogs will not stop the transmission of worms from the pregnant dog to her offspring. However, it significantly helps in reducing parasitic infection from mothers to pups.
Now, this begs the question: “How often should you worm a dog if pregnant?” Mother dogs should be dewormed before mating. However, in the case of unprecedented pregnancies, it is not feasible.
At times like this, deworming will be done around the last 2–3 weeks of pregnancy. It is also a good call to worm lactating dogs every 3 weeks.
Be cautious with your choice of worming products for pregnant dogs. Some brands are not safe to use on them. Most vets recommend fenbendazole (Panacur) to expectant pooches. If you remain unsure, there is no harm in seeking the vet’s advice.
Symptoms of Worms in Dogs
What are the signs of worms in a dog? Early stages of worm infestation in dogs may easily get overlooked since it rarely causes visible clinical signs.
When their population significantly increases, this is the time when affected pooches exhibit the following symptoms:
- Pot-bellied appearance
- Loss of appetite
- Abnormal weight loss
- Slow body development and growth (in puppies)
- Dull coat
- Scooting rear on the ground
If these clinical signs are present in your dog, he needs to get examined by the vet for a precise diagnosis. Taking stool samples is a good idea since it helps in assessing if the cause of the symptoms is intestinal parasites.
Choosing Dog Wormers for Your Dog
Prescription vs. Over-the-Counter
Dog wormers come in many forms, including tablets, liquids, pastes, powders, and spot-on treatments. You can acquire them from the vet or over-the-counter.
Prescription wormers are the ideal option as they are more effective in eliminating intestinal worms. If, for some reason, you cannot acquire them, opt for over-the-counter wormers labelled as NFA-VPS products.
Whilst they are non-prescription medications, their effectiveness in killing parasites is better than regular over-the-shelf dog wormers.
Also, note that these types of drugs can only be purchased from a specially qualified person. They will ask for your dog’s weight to ensure that the proper dosage will be administered.
Some Dewormers Are Ineffective Against Certain Worms
Many dog owners assume that all dog wormers are designed to eliminate all types of worms.
Most anthelmintic drugs for canines can kill common intestinal parasites such as roundworms and tapeworms, but not heartworms.
If you are also concerned about heartworm infection, look for a heartworm preventative that functions as a dewormer.
Getting Rid of Worms in Dogs Takes Time
How long do dog worming tablets take to work? Most worming tablets kick in within 2–6 hours after ingestion. But it can take a few days before the medication can kill all intestinal parasites in your dog’s system.
You will know if the dewormer has taken effect by inspecting his stools. There is a chance you will find live or dead worms. If you find small white segments in his poop, these are the remains of tapeworms.
In some cases, you cannot see any intestinal parasites in your dog’s faeces. That’s because they are too small for the human eye, such as hookworms and whipworms.
Over Deworming Your Dog Has Its Dangers
Can you worm your dog too often? No, we do not encourage worming your dog too often.
Overusing dog wormers can potentially reduce their potency in terminating intestinal parasites. It builds up your furry pal’s resistance to anthelmintic medications.
For this reason, never skip weighing your dog before giving him dog wormers. Always remember that the appropriate dosage amount of the drug mainly depends on his weight.
Many pawrents ask: “How many worming tablets does a dog need?” The number of worming tablets your dog will need depends on the type of dewormer and his weight.
For instance, some brands recommend administering 1 tablet per 10 kilogram of body weight. So if you own a 40-kilogram dog, administer 4 tablets. Always make sure to follow the dosage prescribed to avoid drug overdose.
Another frequently asked question is: “Can I worm my dog twice in one week?” No, giving dog wormers to your dog twice in one week is discouraged.
Only do this if he fails to ingest the medication. Contact your vet first if you feel the need to increase your dog’s deworming frequency.
5 Tips for Reducing the Risk of Worms in Dogs
Preventing worms in dogs is a challenging task. A pooch can contract an intestinal parasite again just days after getting dewormed. However, pairing a timely worming schedule with the following preventative measures can lower the risk of reinfestation:
- Always clean up your dog’s faeces, as they are ideal places for parasites to lay their larvae. Wear sanitary gloves and use sealable bags to dispose of his poop.
- Wash your hands after petting your dog, picking up his faeces, or preparing his meals. All family members should follow sanitary guidelines too, to prevent dog-to-human parasite transmission.
- Make sure that your dog has monthly flea and tick preventatives. Both parasites are potential hosts for worm larvae and other dangerous canine illnesses such as Lyme disease.
- When walking your dog outdoors, do not let him come into contact with unfamiliar dogs or cats. They might be carriers of disease-spreading parasites such as ticks and fleas.
- Let the vet perform a faecal examination on your dog at least 2–4 times a year. Doing so will help you spot and treat worm infestation at its early stage.