Is it a good idea to worm your dog, and if so, how often should you do it?

April 13, 2012

Dealing with internal or intestinal worms would always be a part of a dog owner’s life. Parasites are the enemies of both the dog and the dog owner. The external part of Fido’s body will serve as host to ticks, fleas and mites while a variety of parasites will be freeloaders that will thrive inside the dog’s body and feed on blood and rob the dog of essential nutrients. Left untreated, the parasite infestation can lead to the development of medical concerns that can seriously affect the quality of life of the pet. Worming the dog regularly would be absolutely necessary given the fact that some of these internal parasites can be transmitted to humans and would have far more dangerous effects on the human family than on the pet.

Dogs are well loved pets and considered as part of the family. But aside from this fact, the healthy appearance of the dog reflects the kind of care it receives from the owners. A dog owner would naturally want to keep the dog healthy. A dog owner has to have an idea what types of parasites can infest the pet. It would also be necessary to know the symptoms of infestation and the ways how the infestation can be resolved. Roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms are the intestinal parasites that commonly infect the dog. Dogs can be infected with heartworm as well. Segments of tapeworms can be easily seen on the feces of the dog. The presence of roundworms, hookworms and whipworms can be diagnosed through microscopic fecal examination. Heartworm is the most dangerous parasite that can infest the dog. Preventive measures against heartworms would be extremely necessary as these parasites can kill the pet.

Worm infestation would give a puppy a pot bellied appearance. The dog’s coat would be in poor condition. Due to loss of appetite, the dog would continuously lose weight. A dog infested with internal parasite would be lethargic. Anemia is a common consequence of severe parasite infestation as the worms would feed on the dog’s blood and consume the essential nutrients that should have been consumed by the dog. A telltale sign of worm infestation are worm segments passed with the feces. These worm segments would cause itching so that the dog will be seen scooting or licking the anal area.

It is a dog owner’s responsibility to administer preventive measures against diseases to ensure the health of the pet. These preventive measures will be easier and cheaper in the long run. A dog owner would certainly opt to worm the dog regularly rather than deal with health concerns that can endanger the life of the pet. Puppies are generally affected while still inside the womb. These parasites can also be transmitted when they suckle. It is therefore necessary to start worming puppies at 2 weeks of age. Succeeding treatments must be given when the puppy is 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 weeks of age. From 12 weeks, worming treatments must be administered monthly until the dog is 6 months old. From 6 months onwards, worming treatments must be given every three months. Heartworm preventive medications are commonly given monthly starting when the pet is 12 weeks of age. At the 6th week of pregnancy, a bitch has to receive worming treatment. Puppies can get worms from the mother dog thus to lessen the risk of infection, bitches are wormed 3 weeks after whelping and when the puppies are about to be weaned.

There are over the counter oral and injectable wormer products. Giving these worming products would naturally save the dog owner from paying a vet’s consultation fee. However, as not all worming products can effectively eliminate all types of worms, it would still be best to get a worming product that is prescribed by the vet.

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