Sometimes you need to deworm your dog. It’s just the thing when we keep dogs, especially in the country. Dogs like to eat things – you know like grass? And while they are eating stuff like grass (and other things not mentioned in polite company) they pick up parasites.
How To Tell It’s Time To Deworm Your Dog?
The basic tell tale sign that it is time to deworm your dog with butt scooting caused by irritation of the rectum. You might notice other symptoms of worm infestation that may result in weight loss, diarrhea, irritation of the and the digestive tract. The four main types of worms your dog can pick up are; hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm, whip worm commonly known as heart worms. The first three can usually be dealt with naturally or with over the counter canine dewormer. Heart worms need a special medicine often prescribed by a veterinarian.
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A Little About The Types Of Canine Parasites
Roundworms are visible in your dog’s stool. They look like white strings and live in the small intestine. They might cause your dog to have diarrhea, or begin vomiting, have abdominal pain, and experience weight loss. Also your dog may look pot-bellied and lack energy. Your dog can pick up roundworms from eating infected animals (like birds or mice) or from eating poop or grass where other animals with roundworms have defecated.
Tapeworms, that belong to the cestode family of intestinal parasites, are flat, segmented intestinal worms of cats, dogs and sometimes even people. Using their hook like mouth they attach to the wall of the small intestine of dogs – well really any animal that ingests the eggs. The segments of tapeworms can be seen in the poop of infected dogs. You can identify them because they look like cucumber seeds or grains of rice.
As the segments (known as proglottid) dries, it becomes a golden color. Eventually breaking open, they release fertilized eggs in to the world, containing up to twenty new tapeworm eggs.
Hookworms, often infecting young puppies through their mother’s milk, are a common infection in dogs. After a dog gets infected from ingesting the hookworm eggs, the young hookworm larvae travel to the dog’s intestine, grow, and begin to put off eggs. When the eggs are defecated into the environment, they need a few days for the eggs to mature before they can infect another dog if they are eaten.
Heart worms, probably the scariest of all the worms that can infect a dog. They are carried, primarily, by mosquitos! Because they get transferred via mosquitoes dogs everywhere can get infected. They live in the heart, lungs and blood vessels. Because these worms grow to a foot long they can cause severe lung and heart disease. And they can damage other organs.
When Should You See A Vet?
Because most worms are hard to diagnose look for these signs:
- Coughing: could be a symptom of hookworm infection.
- Vomiting: worms might be visible in vomit.
- Diarrhea: pretty common, look for worms in feces.
- Lethargy: a frequent symptom of worm infection.
- Bloating: often seen in puppies.
- Change in appetite: common, because the worms are eating food being ingested.
- Rapid weight loss: this happens because the worms are siphoning off the nutrients.
- Loss of gloss in their fur: nutrient related.
- Itching or skin irritation: especially around the anus.
- Scooting: dog scrapping bottom across the floor
If your dog has any of these symptoms it might be a good idea to go see the vet.
How Fast Do Dewormers Work?
Many dewormers work pretty quickly. Once you get your dog to eat the pill pay attention to them. Often they will try to vomit the pill back up! Usually you will see worms in their stools for a few days or even weeks after being dewormed. Though this might seem gross, it is a good sign.
Keeping Your Dog Worm Free
Though there aren’t guarantees your dog won’t get worms there are a few things to do that minimize the chances. Make sure you clean up after your dog or dogs. Keep your litter box clean if you have cats. Especially cats that hunt mice. And you can also feed them some natural dewormers as a regular part of their diet.
Natural Dewormers For Your Dog
Ground up pumpkin seeds (shelled please), pumpkin and coconut flakes are a few natural dewormers for your dog. They taste good so your dog could view them as treats. Win win in my book.