Even just the thought of worms is enough to make most people’s skin crawl. Worms are a particular worry because not only can they harm your dog, but they can also be passed on to humans and cause seizures or blindness. Young children and elderly people are at an increased risk so family pets need to be wormed regularly to help avoid infection.
Many pet owners don’t realise that dogs need to be wormed on a regular basis. Any worming treatment given to a dog will clear existing worms but will not protect against future infection meaning a dog could contract a new case of worms just a few days after treatment. For this reason, it’s important to keep on top of a regular worming treatment schedule. It is recommended that you worm your dog once every 3 months, however puppies will require more frequent treatment until they are six months old.
Dogs will not always show symptoms of having worms so it’s often impossible to tell if they have them, sometimes until it’s too late. Even a dog that appears to be in good health could be infected and the worms could be doing some serious damage without you realising. For example, lungworms can prevent the blood from clotting and cause unexpected haemorrhaging in the brain.
Puppies require extra treatment due to the fact that their immune system is weaker than that of an adult dog and so a single dose will not be enough to remove the worms from their systems. Puppies can pick up worms from their mother, both inside the womb and from suckling after birth, as well as from the environment around them.
The two most common types of dog worm in the UK are roundworms and tapeworms. Treatment for each of these are different so over-the-counter medicine purchased from a supermarket may fail to solve your problem. Always talk to your vet to ensure that you are giving the appropriate treatment. When travelling with your dog, it is important to check whether your dog will require any additional treatment. For example, heartworm is common in many overseas locations and preventative treatment is essential if you plan to visit one of these places.