Why is it important to deworm my dog?

Many puppies come to us with parasites, so all puppies should have a very vigorous deworming protocol. Not only are these detrimental to your puppy, but they are also zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted to your children or your family members.

Dr. Michele Drake
The Drake Center

What are some of the parasites found in dogs, and how are they treated?

Some of the most common parasites we find in dogs are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, and Giardia is an intestinal parasite that we also find. All three are treated a bit differently. In the case of roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms, we generally use one particular type of medication. We use something else for tapeworms and again something else for coccidia. We must identify what the parasites are with a fecal test, and then we treat them accordingly.

How do intestinal parasites impact the health and wellbeing of my dog?

Intestinal parasites are a constant drain on your pet's system. We'll see things like diarrhea, and in severe cases, anemia, passing worms, and intestinal upset. I've seen dogs get a blockage in their intestines from very extreme parasite loads. They're not nice, and we should get rid of them.

What are some signs and symptoms of intestinal parasites in my dog?

Many parasites have learned how to be in your dog's system without you even knowing about it, and that's being a parasite. But if the load is bad or if it's a puppy or an older animal, what we'll see are signs of diarrhea, gastrointestinal upset, and sometimes vomiting. You can see them pass the worms in their stool, which is disgusting, and weakness, or even a potbelly if the parasite load is very high. If the protein levels in the body go down, then they'll also get that potbellied appearance.

Would I be able to see worms in my dog's stool?

You can see tapeworms in your dog's stool immediately after the stool is passed, as they'll actually inch their way off. You may see many roundworms in the stool, but that's usually after a really high load. What they often pass are microscopic eggs, which is why we do a fecal check on your dog.

How will a veterinarian diagnose intestinal parasites in my dog?

With puppies, we generally like to check their stool a couple of times, and that's because they can pass them and then not pass the egg. What we do is we take a fecal sample (we need enough stool) that's like the size of a walnut, and we send it off to a lab, or you can do it in-house. And we're going to determine what type of parasite is in the stool to treat accordingly.

Why is early detection and diagnosis of intestinal parasites in dogs so important?

Remember that parasites are feeding off your dog's body, so that's not healthy for them. Also, parasites can be transmitted to humans, so we want those to be removed as soon as possible.

What is the difference between natural remedies or over-the-counter dewormers compared to prescription medications?

There aren't any natural remedies that work. I've seen some OTC meds cause some pretty severe diarrhea and cramping quite often. One, in particular, I think of that is still sold over the counter in pet stores is meant to cause severe cramping and severe diarrhea but does not necessarily kill the parasites. What you get at your veterinarian is the appropriate dose, a very safe medication, and something that's completely effective.

How do I choose the right dewormer for my dog?

I would recommend that you let your veterinarian choose that. If they're puppies, we're going to do a general deworming, but there are some parasites we're not going to just deworm for unless we find them in the stool. So we're going to do some basic deworming, but we're also going to do a fecal sample. And if they have additional parasites, we're going to add other medications.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (760) 456-9556, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Dog Deworming - FAQs

Dr. Michele Drake
The Drake Center

Can all intestinal parasites be prevented?

Yes. We can completely treat and cure your dog of all intestinal parasites.

How might my dog get intestinal parasites?

Intestinal parasites can be passed inside the womb of the female dog onto her puppies. In other words, they can be transmitted before they're even born, or in the course of being born, or puppies can also get them just from the environment. An adult dog can pick up parasites by, say, walking through a dog park, then licking their foot, and ingesting an egg. And then, they will have the parasites.

Can my indoor dog still get intestinal parasites?

Yes, unless your indoor dog never goes outside, although I don't think any dogs are like that.

What can I do to prevent tapeworms?

They get tapeworms by ingesting fleas or flea eggs. By controlling fleas, you're not going to ever have tapeworms.

Is there a medication to prevent my dog from getting intestinal parasites?

Yeah. Regular deworming is what we recommend, and the CDC recommends it. All veterinary organizations recommend a series of deworming treatments for puppies and then for adults to use a regular deworming product. Remember that about five percent of all dog fecals that we send in have parasites. Five percent is pretty high. For that reason, we recommend that all dogs have a preventative deworming protocol onboard all the time.

How can I keep my dog from passing intestinal parasites onto other pets in the household?

By having them treated for parasites as soon as possible and having a preventative program in place.

Can any intestinal parasites be passed on from a dog to people?

Yes, and, unfortunately, some parasites can cause blindness in children. They can also cause skin problems. We take parasites very seriously. Although they're entirely preventable and treatable, we do not ever want children to be exposed to intestinal parasites.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (760) 456-9556, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.