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Dogs have an unhealthy interest in each other’s poo – even though it can be full of all kinds of worms. Worms can cause a lot of unpleasant symptoms, but worming treatments are very effective so there’s no need for panic.
You can’t always monitor what your dog licks or eats. You can help by removing any poo that you find in your neighbourhood, as well as picking up after your own dog. Remember that dog worms can easily infect people too, especially children.
An otherwise healthy dog with worms may not show any symptoms at first, so make it part of your checklist when you take them for their regular visit to the vet’s. Lots of dog owners give a de-worming tablet every few months as part of their dog’s routine. Your vet will be able to advise you on how often you should worm your dog, and which treatment to use.
If your dog shows any of these symptoms of worms, then get in touch with your vet straight away.
• A hot, dry nose
• Tiredness, or a lack of interest in walks and games
• Poor appetite
• Weak, watery eyes
• Pale lips and gums
• Unusually smelly breath
• A hacking cough
• A red, pimply or irritated skin condition
• A constantly shedding, dry coat
• Spaghetti-like strands in their poo or blood-stained poo
• Or an itchy bottom that your dog drags along the floor
How often should I worm my puppy?
Dogs are prone to two types of worms, roundworms and tapeworms. It’s not always obvious that a dog has worms, so regular worming is a sensible precaution. Puppies should be wormed as soon as they are old enough – your vet will be able to advise you.
Treatments for worms come in many different forms – powders, tablets, pastes and liquids – and will need to be repeated according to the manufacturer’s instructions – usually every three or four months. A puppy that’s had fleas should be wormed more frequently as fleas often carry worm larvae.