It’s very rare for a puppy to be born without worms, or not to acquire them soon after birth. In fact, the likelihood that your new puppy has worms is as high as 98%. It’s therefore essential that you start worming puppies as soon as possible. Puppies can be de-wormed from as early as 2 weeks, so if your pup came from a breeder be sure to confirm that worming treatment has already started.
What species of worms are puppies typically born with?
The most common worms that puppies are born with are roundworms which resemble pale earthworms and live in the stomach and intestines.
Puppies can also be infested with tapeworm, a long segmented worm which attaches itself to the intestinal wall. Hookworms and whipworms are less common, but more serious.
How can I tell if my puppy has worms?
Common signs your puppy has worms are vomiting, diarrhea, loss of weight, and excessive anal grooming or dragging the rear along the ground. You may also see worms, or small rice-like worm eggs, in the stool.
What are the dangers from puppy worms?
Internal parasites cause many problems for both puppies and adult dogs. They suffer chronic diarrhea and vomiting and can become malnourished since the parasite is absorbing much of the nutrition they consume.
In puppies this can cause growth problems and makes them more susceptible to disease.
Whipworms can cause diarrhea with bleeding so severe that it results in anemia. Hookworms also cause severe diarrhea and anemia.
Some species of parasite, especially roundworms and tapeworms are transmittable to humans, with children particularly at risk.
How should I treat my puppy for worms?
Puppies can be treated for worms from the age of two weeks.
Always consult your vet and let him apply a de-wormer or give you a prescription for the de-worming medication.
Give your puppy a dose of the de-wormer at fortnightly intervals from 2 weeks to 8 weeks (i.e. at 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks of age) then again at 12 weeks. Then monthly at 4 months, 5 months and 6 months. After that deworm every 3 months.
Never give the de-worming treatment to a puppy who is already sick. Consult your vet first.
Are there any other precautions I should take?
Clean up after your puppy defecates, as your puppy can re-infest himself by exposure to worm eggs in the faeces.
Fleas are a vector for tapeworm (that is, they transmit tapeworms between dogs and cats), so you’ll want to apply a flea treatment monthly.
Talk to your vet about heartworm prevention when your puppy reaches 6 months of age. Heartworms are particularly dangerous and can cause heart failure in a dog.
Most puppies will have or get worms. Following a puppy worming regime will rid your dog of these and other internal parasites which can cause them many problems if left untreated.
Worming puppies can start from as early as 2 weeks of age.