Your new puppy is a bundle of joy, but do you know what loves your puppy almost as much as you do?
Worms! These are common critters that can enter the dog’s intestines and cause problems, and sometimes they can have disastrous effects on your dog’s health.
How early can worms affect your puppy?
It might surprise you to hear that your puppy could be born with worms! That’s why it’s so important to have your puppy dewormed as early as possible.
With that in mind, let’s look at everything you need to know about deworming puppies. We’ll start with information about when your puppies should be dewormed and what symptoms show that your puppy’s got worms.
When Should Puppies Be Dewormed?
You should have your puppy dewormed at the early age of two weeks, then again at the ages of four, six, eight, and 12 weeks. When your puppy has hit the 12-week milestone, you’ll have to deworm him or her once every three months to ensure that worms are kept at bay.
If you’ve got a new puppy because your dog had a litter, ensure that you also have her dewormed because mothers can transmit worms onto their puppies through their milk during the nursing process.
In future, always make sure that the pregnant dog is treated for worms before giving birth. Besides for regular deworming, this usually takes the form of the pregnant dog being given a booster deworming treatment about 10 days before giving birth.
Can You See That Your Puppy Has Worms?
Although some worms, such as the roundworm, will show up in your puppy’s faeces in the form of small white worms, this isn’t the case for all types of worms that can affect your puppies. But just because you can’t see them, it doesn’t mean that they’re not there!
This is why it’s important to stay up-to-date when it comes to your dog’s deworming schedule because you never know if worms are affecting your puppies’ health.
How Your Puppy’s Worms Will Be Diagnosed
If you think that your puppy could have worms, taking him or her to the vet will help you find out for sure. Your vet will likely request a stool sample that will be studied for any microscopic worms or their eggs.
This is usually a test that’s conducted to check for parasites such as whipworms, roundworms, hookworms, and coccidia.
Some other parasites will require different tests because they don’t put their eggs in the dog’s faeces. Examples include whipworms. Therefore, your vet will want to do other tests, such as blood tests, to make a diagnosis for these kinds of worms.
Usually, these tests will be conducted again once your puppy has been treated for worms to be sure that the worms are no longer present and the treatment has been effective.
So, you might have to bring a second stool sample to the vet or your vet will want to run some tests again to confirm that the parasites have been eliminated.
What Are The Most Common Symptoms Of Worms?
Most often, the worms that affect dogs and puppies will enter their intestines. They can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms, so these are important to look out for in your puppy:
- Diarrhea (even during nighttime!)
- Swollen stomach
- Weight loss
- Sitting down abruptly, and ‘scooting’
Why Are Parasites Dangerous For Puppies?
The reason why it’s so important to treat worms in puppies as soon as possible is because puppies are still developing. They don’t have a developed immune system yet, and they don’t have fat stores that they can use for energy.
Another problem is that they need to consume more fluids than adult dogs. Since many parasites will cause dogs to avoid food because they don’t feel like eating and/or experience vomiting as well as diarrhea, dehydration and a loss of fluid is very common.
This is more dangerous for puppies to experience than adult dogs. If your puppy seems dehydrated or doesn’t want to drink water, it’s essential to bring him or her to the vet without delay.
Common Types Of Worms That Can Affect Your Puppy
You might be wondering what types of worms your dog can get from a young age. Here’s a rundown of the most common worms to know about so you can keep your puppy protected.
This is a thin parasite that is approximately 12 centimeters long. How puppies can get roundworm is by coming into contact with infected dirt or faeces.
If your puppy has roundworm, you might notice symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, stunted growth, weight loss, weakness, or mucus in the stool.
This is a highly dangerous intestinal parasite.
It is transmitted from mothers to their puppies, either before the puppies or born or when the mother nurses her puppies, hence why it’s so important to get your puppies dewormed from a young age and why your pregnant dog needs to be up to date with her deworming treatments.
Signs of hookworm in your puppies include lethargy, black stools that contain blood, a lack of appetite, and anaemia.
If you notice any small pieces in your puppy’s stool that look like rice, then he or she might have tapeworm. How a puppy gets tapeworm is by consuming fleas that have larvae in their tissues.
Tapeworm makes your puppies want to eat a lot more than usual, but they won’t experience any weight gain from the extra food because this is feeding the worms.
This type of worm gets into a puppy’s digestive tract. It can lead to chronic bowel inflammation. When infected with whipworm, your puppy will have symptoms such as mucus in their stools, diarrhoea, and a loss of appetite.
This is another worm that enters your puppy’s intestines. If your puppy consumes rodents, or other types of raw and uncooked meat, it can get coccidia. It will show symptoms such as weight loss, a loss of appetite, fever, and diarrhoea.
Heartworm is transmitted to puppies via mosquito bites. It’s dangerous because it can cause lung or heart damage, fatigue, and lethargy. It can be fatal to your dogs, which is pretty scary.
You’ve probably heard about ringworm. It’s caused by fungus. The danger about ringworm is that it’s very contagious. It lives on the skin and can be transmitted to other dogs as well as humans.
You can spot ringworm in your puppies by looking at their skin – ringworm will cause oval, bare patches on it.
What Worming Treatments Are Available For Your Puppy?
Now that we’ve looked at what common parasites can affect your puppy, you’re probably eager to get rid of them or prevent them if your puppy doesn’t have them right now.
Although worming treatments are said to prevent your puppy from getting worms, this is a myth.
How they actually work is that they kill off worms that are in your puppy’s body already. This is why it’s important to deworm your puppy on a regular basis because you don’t want the worm problem to cause a severe infestation.
There are different types of worming treatments. These include worming tablets and flavored chews. When giving these to your dogs, you should ensure that your dog has swallowed them as sometimes dogs will spit them out a minute after you think they’ve eaten them.
In addition, sometimes dogs might vomit after taking the deworming medication. Speak to your vet if that happens because it means your dog’s not protected against worm infestations.
Most anti-parasite drugs are safe for your dogs to take, but it’s important to follow your vet’s instructions if you’re deworming your puppies at home to ensure that you don’t give them the wrong dosage.
Will you give your puppy deworming medication once?
The thing about treating parasites in puppies is that usually they’ll have to be administered more than one dose. How many doses will be required will vary based on the type of medication that your vet has prescribed for your puppy.
However, a typical dosage will look like this: you’ll have to give your puppy medication for between one and three consecutive days, then a few weeks later you’ll have to repeat it. This ensures that all the parasites are killed, including any new ones that have hatched.
Common Medications For Puppy Parasites
There are some common medications that are administered to puppies and which are considered to be the gold standard when it comes to treating parasites in your dogs. These include Revolution and Advocate. Here’s what you should know about them.
- Revolution – This is a treatment that controls and prevents fleas as well as a range of intestinal parasites, such as roundworm and hookworm. It’s also safe for pregnant dogs to use, which is a bonus.
- Advocate – This is a broad-spectrum treatment that’s effective against roundworms, heartworms, and others, as well as fleas and flea larvae.
A word of caution: You can’t just run to the store and purchase a dewormer for your puppy, thinking it will be safe or effective. For starters, you might not be giving your puppy the right dewormer based on the worm that your puppy is afflicted by.
It’s always best to consult with your vet to find out what kind of worm your dog has. It’s also important to ensure that you don’t give your puppy a dewormer that they’re too young to safely take – some dewormers can only be used on puppies that are around the age of seven weeks.
It’s also important to consider possible side effects of deworming medication.
What Are Common Side Effects?
It’s good to know that most anti-parasite treatments will be very safe for your puppies. However, it’s important to get the dosage right, which is another good reason why you should consult with your vet.
If your puppy has many parasites (which is known as a high-worm burden), he or she will be more susceptible to experiencing side effects from the treatment.
This is because the parasites will all be killed off at the same time, which can cause inflammation in the stomach. This, in turn, will have various consequences, such as making your puppy not want to eat, vomit, or have diarrhea.
Although it shouldn’t be alarming since most dogs will be back to normal within a day or so, it’s always good to monitor your puppy for side effects so that you can consult with your vet if they persist or worry you.
Natural Dewormers – Do They Work?
If you’re hoping to avoid chemicals when deworming your puppy, the idea of a natural dewormer might appeal to you.
There are many natural dewormers that are said to prevent or treat parasite infestations. For example, feeding your puppy healthy foods such as carrots is said to be good for dislodging worms from a puppy’s stomach.
Another natural remedy that’s sometimes mentioned on the internet includes giving your puppy immune-boosters that will help your puppy to ward off intestinal parasites.
Now, the question is: do natural dewormers really work?
The issue is quite complicated. Some people might insist that the natural remedies work for their dogs, but the thing to remember about natural dewormers is that just because they’re natural it doesn’t mean that they’re always going to be safe for your pooch.
In addition, some natural remedies that you might come across will be recommended to prevent parasites as well as treat mild infestations, but this means they obviously won’t be worth trying if your puppy has a severe parasite infestation.
The danger is that you might not know how severe the infestation is! Trying natural remedies could therefore delay treatment in your puppy. In the case of serious worms, this could make the problem worse and cause horrible consequences for your pet’s health.
One of the biggest problems with trying to treat your dog’s parasites with natural remedies is that there’s little scientific research that’s been conducted on them.
Even if the ingredients that are touted as a cure, such as sage leaf or papaya leaf, might have anti-parasitic features, this isn’t always enough to send the parasites packing.
The correct dosage and combination of ingredients that’s required to kill off the parasites is still unknown, so even if you give your pet the safest remedies they might not work.
You also never know what these ingredients will do to your pet, such as if they make your pet sick. After all, even natural remedies can have side effects for some pets.
That said, if you still want to try home remedies, do yourself a favor and run them past your vet before going ahead. It’s always best to trust a professional who might know about some natural remedies that have been successful.
What You Can Do To Prevent Reinfection
What can happen when your puppy’s got worms is that they can become reinfected by them in various ways. The good news is that you can prevent this from happening by:
- Picking up your dog’s faeces after they’ve been dropped, as this can transmit parasites to your puppies if they come into contact with it.
- Washing your hands after handling puppies. This will not only keep you safe but will prevent parasites from being transmitted back to your puppies.
- Giving your puppy flea treatments. This is important because some worms, such as tapeworms, can be transmitted to your dog via fleas. By treating and preventing fleas, you can therefore prevent some worms from attacking your puppy.
How common are worms in puppies?
Many puppies will get worms, especially since they can be passed through a mother’s milk or in utero. This is why it’s so important to tackle them immediately with the right deworming treatments.
How quickly do deworming treatments work?
While your puppy might need more than one dosage of the dewormer, the good news is that these treatments get to work really quickly to kill the parasites. Some can start killing worms a few hours after the dewormer has been given to your pet.
The thought of your puppy having worms can be unpleasant, but you don’t have to let your puppy’s health be compromised by these parasites.
The process of deworming puppies should begin from when your puppies are a few weeks old so that you can prevent them from being affected by severe worm infestations.
In this article, we’ve provided information on everything you need to know about puppy deworming, from the nasty worms that can affect your puppy and how to treat them, to the most common – and safest – deworming treatments that are available. It’s time to say goodbye to worms!
Heather Abraham is a professional blogger who owns two dogs, a cat, a parrot, and a leopard gecko. She has a connection with animals since she was a child. She shares her love for all pet breeds and provides information on pet food, toys, medications, beds, and everything else.
She is committed to learning about the internal workings of animals. Her work permits her to work closely with knowledgeable vets and obtain practical expertise in animal care. When she is not working, her love of animals continues in her writing. Her goal is to educate and uplift readers who also have a passion for animals through her writing.