If you are thinking of becoming a parent to a puppy, you should know that regular deworming is necessary. Not only is deworming crucial to your puppy’s health, but it is also crucial to the health of the humans who would be living under the same roof. Fortunately, deworming your little canine bundle of joy is inexpensive and relatively easy. Side effects of deworming medications appear on a case-by-case basis, but should not be too extreme. In this article, I will focus on intestinal newt parasites, as other parasites will most likely require more intensive treatment from your vet. Much of my knowledge comes from personal experience as an animal rescuer.
Symptoms of Intestinal Parasites
Unfortunately, the life of a parasite depends on its inconspicuousness. Be aware that worm eggs can be passed on to a dog’s offspring during gestation and through nursing. Therefore, a good veterinarian will provide medication for your puppy without charging you for a stool sample. If your puppy was born as a stray, it is almost certain that he or she will have intestinal parasites.
The usual symptoms, which I must repeat are not often present, will include diarrhea, loss of appetite, and sluggishness. Because numerous canine ailments have many of the same symptoms, deworming your dog at least once a year is advisable. An obvious telltale sign of parasites would be worms appearing in the stool or around the anus of your puppy.
Common Intestinal Parasites
Roundworms are insidious parasitic worms, and I sadly have encountered them many times as a foster dog parent. Adult roundworms, if found in the stool, are similar in appearance to spaghetti noodles. Young roundworms appear as small white threads. They can infect other organs of humans and dogs, and can cause blindness in both species.
If I have not given you enough revolting imagery, then please read on about tapeworms. These segmented nematodes sometimes shed sacs filled with innumerable eggs via defecation. The segments may look like grains of rice.
Many other intestinal parasites exist, so it is imperative that your vet provide you with comprehensive medication. However, a wide variety of parasites, microscopic or otherwise, can infect your dog. For example, if you live in an area where heartworms are rampant, then you will need to screen your puppy and perhaps have your vet consult you on special treatment.
I know of a number of dog parents who use over-the-counter deworming medications, and find them to be effective. I would not discourage the use of over-the-counter medications, but I would caution you to be well-versed with intestinal parasites and the treatment for ridding your dog of them. Pay attention to how much your dog weighs, because this will determine the dosage.
Vets provide deworming medications in either pill, powder, or liquid form. The active ingredients will usually kill tapeworms, roundworms, and hookworms. For my dog and foster dogs, I use a pill form which includes praziquantel and pyrantel pomoate as the active ingredients.
I have read articles which state that diarrhea or vomiting is the most common side effect of administering a deworming agent to a dog. I have not encountered this side-effect, probably because I make sure the medicine is given before or after the dog has eaten some food.
However, I have faced a very unpleasant side effect—the presence of the dispatched worms in the dog’s feces.
Keep in mind that dewormers only kill adult worms and larvae. The eggs remain unaffected by the dewormer, but two weeks is the time period for the hatching of larvae. Consequently, your puppy must receive a second round of medication exactly two weeks after the first round.
By Gabrielle Allemeier
About the Author
Gabrielle Allemeier volunteers her free time as an animal rescuer and foster pet parent. As an animal lover, she enjoys sharing the knowledge she has gained from her experience with a variety of animals. Along with being an animal lover, Gabrielle is a globetrotter. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her terrier, Thisbe.