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How to Prevent Worms in Dogs

How to Prevent Worms in Dogs

If you are planning to adopt a canine as a pet, then you must have a basic understanding about prevention of worms in dogs. Go through this article for some information about the same.
Sonia Nair
Adopting a pet is an easy task, as compared to the care they require. Caring for a dog involves meeting its dietary requirements, taking care of health-related problems, proper training, and grooming. It is a big responsibility to take care of a pet dog. If you are planning to adopt a dog, make sure you understand the requirements of that specific breed, beforehand. This will make things easier for you, once you bring the pet home. As far as health problems are concerned, dog worms are very common in almost all breeds. These intestinal parasites can cause several unpleasant symptoms in your dog, and can be detrimental to your pet's health. So, it is always better to prevent worms in dogs.

Preventive Measures

As in case of many other diseases, prevention is the best method in case of dog worms too. In most cases, the puppies develop such infection from the mother, at a very early stage. So, preventive measures have to be started as early as possible.
  • The very first thing you have to do is to test your puppy for worms, as soon as they reach three weeks of age.
  • If there is any infestation, get them dewormed within three to six weeks of birth. If you opt for a vermicide, it will be better to administer the drug through injections, as oral vermicides may cause digestive problems in puppies.
  • Once or twice a year, get your dog checked for worm infestation. This is best done with the help of a vet. Take your dog to the vet, and make sure you carry a stool sample.
  • It is always better to monitor the dog, when they are outdoors, Don't allow them to feed on the feces of dogs or other animals. Equally important is to prevent them from eating the carcass of animals.
  • If you take your dog outdoors, prevent it from mingling with stray dogs and other stray animals. It is always better to use broad spectrum preventive products, so that you don't have to use different drugs for different types of infection. Some of the heartworm prevention products are meant for other worms too.
  • You must control fleas in your house and premises. Even your pet dog's body and bedding must be free of fleas. This is because fleas are the most common cause for tapeworm infestation in dogs. There are various flea control products in the market, and you may choose the best suited one.
In short, proper care is sufficient to prevent worms in dogs. Though mild infection is not life-threatening, infestation of worms may cause severe discomfort to the dog, and may sometimes lead to its death. So, it is always better to prevent such infection, and let your dog live a life free of worms. If you notice any symptom of dog worms, get the animal diagnosed and treated at the earliest.

Types of Dog Worms

Dogs are prone to get infested with internal parasites that are commonly referred to as dog worms. There are five types of worms in dogs, and they include hookworms, whipworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and heartworms. While hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms are intestinal parasites, heartworms infest the heart as well as the blood vessels of dogs. The term dog worms usually denote intestinal parasites.

The most common among them are roundworms that are mostly found to infect puppies when are they are in the uterus. Infection may also happen through the milk of their mother. So, the source of infection is the infected mother. Even ingestion of an infected animal, or its feces, or soil with roundworm eggs, can cause this condition. Roundworms cause a pot-bellied appearance in dogs, along with weight loss, and various other symptoms. You may find these worms in the feces and vomit of the affected animal. It can also lead to human infection. As in case of roundworms, hookworms can also affect the dog, while it is inside the uterus, or through the mother's milk. This infection may cause loss of appetite, pale gums, diarrhea, anemia, dark and tarry stools, and even death. Hookworms cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Tapeworms are also common in dogs, and in this case, ingestion of fleas with tapeworm eggs is found to be primary cause of infestation. The symptoms include itching of the anus, scooting, lethargy, weight loss, and white rice-like segments near the anus of the animal (can be seen in his bedding too). Sometimes, you may find one or two long, flat, white-colored worms in the vomit or feces of the animal. Whipworm infection is usually caused by intake of water or food contaminated with the worm eggs. In case of severe infection, the dog will develop anemia and loss of weight. Even though they are not intestinal parasites, heartworms can be fatal for dogs, if not treated on time. Heartworm larvae are carried by mosquitoes, and are transmitted through mosquito bites. As these parasites grow in large numbers, the animal may develop cough and chest pain.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.