Dogs no matter what breed whether they run around in a back garden or are taken out for walks every day will at some time in their lives pick up intestinal worms. Although it's not a very pleasant subject, it's important to know a little bit about this problem so you know how to deal with things to make life more comfortable for your canine companion. Should a dog suffer a serious infestation of intestinal worms, it can be very damaging to their overall health and well-being.
The two main intestinal worms you need to worry about are roundworms and tapeworms. These nasty parasites can survive on partially digested food that's found in a dog's bowels and female worms lay microscopic eggs which dogs then pass out into the environment in their poop.
All it takes is for your dog to sniff or lick any ground that's been contaminated with dog poo for them to pick up the eggs which they do typically on their paws and muzzles which are then easily ingested. Tapeworms live in a dog's intestines and are easily recognisable being white in colour and made up of many flat segments. The eggs need to be eaten by a flea or other intermediary host in order for the cycle to continue and once a dog swallows the host, they are immediately infected with tapeworms.
All types of intestinal worms carry health risks to both dogs and people. As such all dogs need to be wormed on a regular basis. There are certain signs to watch out for which show a dog may have worms and if they are really infested, these can be quite obvious to spot. The signs are as follows:
Other signs that are not quite as obvious or as common include the following:
Routinely worming your dog is by far the best strategy because it's the only way to deal with the problem effectively and there are four ways of doing this which are as follows:
Set up a worming programme you know you will stick to. However, just giving your dog a wormer will not stop them from being re-infected so it's important to have an annual routine in place. Other things you need to factor in are the age of your dog, the product you decide to use and your pet's lifestyle which will determine how often you would need to treat your dog for worms.
Puppies need to be wormed every 2 to 3 weeks from when they are two weeks old right up to when they are 12 weeks old. After that, you would need to worm a puppy every month until they are 6 months old. Lastly, puppy would need to be wormed every 3 months which should be enough to prevent them picking up any nasty intestinal worms.
If you live in a high risk area where there lots of other dogs and poo left on the ground or your dog likes to scavenge or you have young children in the household, you may want to worm your dog more frequently.
You should always scoop up your pet's poo whether they do their business in the garden, on the pavement, in a park or out in the countryside. If you leave it on the ground another dog may take a sniff at it and would be at risk of picking up worms too. All the poo needs to be picked up because even the tiniest of amounts will be enough and eggs can survive in soil or grass for anything up to two years!
Dogs like to scavenge things and some more than others. If you own a pooch that just loves diving into nasty things like dead rabbits, birds or any other dead and rotting animal, you have to try to stop them from doing this because they can pick up fleas which are carriers of tapeworm eggs.
It's a good idea to treat your pet for fleas when you worm them because fleas are carriers. Setting up a worming and flea programme helps prevent your dog from picking up fleas which could lead to them picking up tapeworms.
There's a great choice of worming treatments for dogs on the market which include the following:
If you are at all unsure which product to use, you should discuss things with your vet who would be only too happy to offer the sort of advice you are looking for. However, you should never buy a cheap dog wormer on the internet or a brand you have never heard of. It is much better to stick to well known brands with a proven track record.