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How Important Is Deworming For Dogs?



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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One crucial aspect of dog care that is often overlooked is deworming. Worms can cause numerous health issues in dogs, from digestive disorders to serious diseases.

Regular deworming is essential to keep these pesky parasites at bay.

In this post, we’ll delve into the importance of deworming, explore the risks associated with various types of worms, and provide practical advice on how to effectively deworm your dog.

Key Takeaway

  • Deworming for dogs is the process of administering medication to eliminate internal parasites, such as worms, that can cause health issues in your pet.
  • Deworming is extremely important for dogs as it eliminates harmful internal parasites, thereby preventing potential health issues and ensuring the overall well-being of your pet.
  • Worms in dogs can pose a danger to your family as many of these parasites are zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted from animals to humans, potentially causing illness.

What Is Deworming For Dogs?

How Important Is Deworming For Dogs

Deworming is a process in which a dog is given medication to eliminate internal parasites, commonly referred to as worms.

This preventative care regime is crucial for improving your pet’s health. For puppies, deworming typically starts when they are two weeks old and continues every two weeks until they’re weaned.

After that, it’s recommended that dogs should be dewormed at least every three months or even monthly in some cases.

The actual process involves your vet giving your dog medicine by mouth, a shot, or using a topical dewormer to kill the worms.

How Important Is Deworming For Dogs?

Deworming is very important for the dog’s overall health as it involves the administration of medication to eliminate internal parasites, such as tapeworms and hookworms.

Regular deworming helps to prevent illnesses related to these parasites and promotes healthy growth, particularly in puppies who are often more susceptible to parasitic infections.

If left untreated, these parasites can cause serious health issues including growth retardation.

Guidelines recommend that dogs should be dewormed at least four times a year, with no more than three months between each treatment.

However, always consult with your vet for the best deworming schedule tailored to your pet’s needs.

Are Worms In Dogs A Danger To My Family?

Yes, certain types of worms in dogs such as roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms are zoonotic, which means they can be transmitted from animals to humans.

This transmission can occur when humans accidentally ingest worm eggs from a contaminated environment or come into contact with infected dog feces.

Children who play in areas where dogs have defecated are especially at risk. In addition, certain types of worms can be passed from mother dogs to their puppies through the placenta or milk.

Therefore, maintaining good hygiene practices and regular deworming schedules for your pets is crucial for preventing worm infections in both your pets and your family members.

While the likelihood of humans contracting worms from their pets is generally low and requires ingestion of parasite-laden feces, the risk is not zero.

Is It Mandatory To Deworm a Dog?

Deworming is essential for dogs, and it is recommended by veterinary organizations, and the CDC, and even required by law in some jurisdictions.

If worms are present or suspected, deworming should be carried out promptly as these parasites can cause damage to a dog’s internal organs and potentially lead to death if left untreated.

Puppies should be dewormed every two weeks until they are twelve weeks old, then monthly until they reach six months of age.

Adult dogs should be dewormed at least twice a year, or every three months for effective protection.

During the summer months, or if you have young children, monthly deworming may be recommended due to the increased risk of infection.

How Do Dewormers Work?

Dewormers work by targeting the parasites inside a dog’s body in various ways.

Some deworming medications, like Fenbendazole, work by binding to the beta-tubulin within the microtubules of the parasites and inhibiting their formation, which disrupts cell division.

Other dewormers work by paralyzing and breaking up the worms so they can be passed through your dog’s system.

There are also deworming medications that prevent the worms from attaching to your pet’s intestines, causing the parasites to be expelled through feces.

The exact method of action can vary depending on the type of dewormer used and the type of worm it is designed to eliminate.

What Worms Are Common In Dogs?

  • Roundworms (Toxocara Canis, Toxascaris leonine): These are the most common intestinal parasites in dogs and are especially prevalent in puppies.
  • Tapeworms: These are flat, white worms that can be seen in a dog’s feces. They often resemble grains of rice.
  • Hookworms: These are small, thin worms that attach to the wall of the small intestine and suck blood.
  • Whipworms: These are usually about 1/4 inch long and live in the cecum and colon.
  • Heartworms (Dirofilaria immitis): These are spread through the bite of a mosquito. The adult worms live in the heart and large blood vessels.

What Are The Symptoms of Worms In Dogs?

  • Diarrhea: This can often be bloody in the case of hookworms, or may contain mucus if whipworms are present.
  • Vomiting: Dogs with worms frequently throw up, which is a bodily response to the irritation caused by the parasites.
  • Coughing: This is particularly associated with heartworms, as they reside in the lungs and heart.
  • Lethargy or reduced activity: Worms can sap a dog’s energy levels, causing them to be less active than usual.
  • Pot-bellied appearance: This is especially common in puppies with a heavy worm burden.
  • Changes in appetite: Some dogs may eat more due to the worms consuming the nutrients in their food, while others may lose their appetite.
  • Weight loss: Despite increased food intake, some dogs might lose weight as the worms deprive them of essential nutrition.
  • Dull coat: A healthy dog usually has a shiny coat. A dull, dry coat could be a sign of a worm infestation.
  • Itchy bottom: Dogs with worms often scoot or drag their bottoms across the ground due to the irritation caused by worms or worm segments exiting the body.

Are There Natural Dog Dewormers?

  • Apple Cider Vinegar: This increases the alkaline levels in a dog’s intestines creating an environment that is not conducive for worms.
  • Pumpkin Seeds: They contain an amino acid called cucurbitacin which is effective in eliminating worms from a dog’s system.
  • Coconut Oil: Mixed into food daily, it can help fight against worms and intestinal parasites.
  • Carrots and Other Vegetables: Vegetables like carrots, beetroot, and papaya are rich in nutrients that help in deworming.
  • Wormwood: This herb is used as a natural dewormer but should be administered with care due to its potentially harmful effects when given in high doses or for extended periods.
  • Parsley: Boiling fresh, organic parsley and adding it to your dog’s food can also help in deworming.
  • Turmeric and Chamomile: These are known for their anti-parasitic properties and can be added to your dog’s diet.

Do Dewormers Have Side Effects?

Yes, dewormers can have side effects, although they are generally mild and temporary. It’s important to remember that the benefits of deworming usually outweigh the potential side effects. Here are some possible side effects:

Vomiting and Diarrhea

These are the most common side effects of dewormers. The medication can irritate the dog’s stomach, leading to vomiting or diarrhea.


Some dogs might become less active or seem tired after receiving deworming medication. This is usually temporary and resolves within a few days.

Loss of Appetite

Deworming medications can sometimes cause a decrease in appetite. However, this should be temporary, and the dog’s appetite should return to normal once the treatment is complete.

Skin Reactions

In rare cases, dogs might experience skin reactions like rashes or itching. If this occurs, it’s important to contact your vet as soon as possible.

How Often Should I Deworm My Dog?

For puppies, deworming typically begins when they are two weeks old and continues every two weeks until they are weaned.

After that, they can be dewormed once every month until they’re three months old.

For adult dogs, it is often recommended to administer a dewormer monthly, particularly in the summer months when the risk of worms can be higher.

Some vets may advise more frequent treatments depending on your dog’s specific circumstances.

Additionally, performing fecal tests 2-4 times per year can help monitor for any worm infestations.

If regular deworming is used, animals should be treated at least 4 times a year, with no more than 3 months between each treatment.

How To Deworm Your Dog?

Here is how to deworm your dog:

Step 1: Understand the Risks and Symptoms

First, you should understand the risks and symptoms of worms in dogs. Common signs include diarrhea, weight loss, a dull coat, increased appetite, and seeing worms in your dog’s feces or vomit.

Step 2: Consult with Your Vet

Before starting any treatment, consult with a veterinarian. They can advise you on the best deworming method for your dog based on their age, size, and overall health.

Step 3: Obtain the Deworming Medication

Purchase the recommended deworming medication. This may be available from your vet or over the counter, depending on the type of worms your dog has.

Step 4: Administer the Deworming Medication

Administer the deworming medication as directed by your vet. This could be a pill, liquid, or topical treatment. Ensure to give the correct dosage based on your dog’s weight.

Step 5: Monitor Your Dog’s Health

After the treatment, monitor your dog’s health. Look for any changes in their behavior or physical condition, and check their feces for worms.

Step 6: Follow Up with Your Vet

Follow up with your vet to ensure the treatment was effective. They may need to perform another fecal test. If the worms persist, your vet may recommend a different treatment.

Step 7: Prevent Future Infestations

Finally, take steps to prevent future infestations. This might include regular deworming, maintaining a clean environment, and preventing your dog from eating feces or wildlife.

How Much Does It Cost To Deworm a Puppy?

On average, the price for deworming medicine can range anywhere from $8 to $55. If the medication is prescribed by a veterinarian, it is generally going to cost more than an over-the-counter option.

The cost of a basic vet visit can also add to the overall price, which can range from $15 in some areas to $50 in others. It’s important to note that puppies should only be wormed under the supervision of a vet.

The guidelines recommend deworming puppies at 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks of age, for a total of 4 treatments.


Q: Why is deworming important for dogs?

A: Deworming is important for dogs because intestinal worms can cause various health issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, anemia, and even death in severe cases.

Q: How often should I deworm my dog or puppy?

A: It is recommended to deworm puppies every two weeks until they are three months of age and then a monthly deworming schedule for adult dogs.

Q: What types of worms can dogs get?

A: Dogs can get various types of worms, including roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and whipworms.

Q: How do dogs get worms?

A: Dogs can get worms through various sources such as ingesting contaminated food or water, coming into contact with infected feces, or being bitten by infected fleas or mosquitoes.

Q: What are the signs that my dog needs to be dewormed?

A: Signs that your dog may need to be dewormed include weight loss, poor coat condition, a distended belly, vomiting, diarrhea, or the presence of worms in their stool.

Q: Can I deworm my dog at home?

A: While there are over-the-counter deworming medications available, it is advisable to consult with a veterinarian for the most appropriate and effective deworming protocol for your dog.

Q: How do I know if my dog has worms?

A: A veterinarian can diagnose the presence of worms in your dog through a fecal test, where a small sample of your dog’s stool is examined under a microscope for the presence of worm eggs or larvae.

Q: Are there any side effects of deworming medication for dogs?

A: Some dogs may experience temporary side effects such as mild gastrointestinal upset, but these are usually rare and not severe. It is important to follow the recommended dosage and consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns.

Q: Can deworming prevent heartworm in dogs?

A: No, deworming medication does not prevent heartworm in dogs. Heartworm prevention requires a separate medication specifically designed to target heartworm larvae transmitted by mosquitoes.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, the importance of deworming in dogs cannot be overstated. It’s a critical part of responsible pet ownership that plays a significant role in safeguarding your furry companion’s health.

By staying attentive to the signs of worm infestation and maintaining a regular deworming schedule, you can prevent many of the health issues associated with these parasites.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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