You just bought your new puppy home and as you try to get him accustomed to it’s new surroundings you wonder if and when you should have him dewormed. The answer to this question is a big fat yes, since puppies are known to come with a good amount of parasites along with their overwhelming cuteness and joy.
When to Deworm Puppies
Puppies should get dewormed as soon as possible. Most puppies harbor parasites that were transmitted in utero or from drinking their mother’s milk. Ideally, the breeder should have started deworming the puppy as soon as it was 2 weeks old. Check with your breeder if this protocol was started, if yes record the dates and if ask if any follow up dewormings were done after wards. This information will be helpful to your vet, so he/she may decide how to proceed. If the breeder had the pup de-wormed by a veterinarian have him/her fax the paperwork to your new veterinarian or get a copy and bring it along for your pup’s first vet appointment.
Be prepared to collect a stool sample for your puppy’s first vet appointment. A fecal test will be run so parasites or protozoans can be identified. You do not need a large specimen, a teaspoon size amount will do. Make sure it is not older than 12 hours old or it may not be able to yield accurate results. Put it in a clean container and label it with your dog’s name and the time it was collected. Do not forget to bring it along for you pup’s first exam.
Should your breeder have not provided any de-worming, your dog will likely get de-wormed at the vet’s office. This is easily done by getting a weight and then giving a dewormer dosage accordingly. This is a general schedule for deworming pups but each veterinarian office may differ:
1st deworming: between 6-8 weeks
2nd deworming: between 9-11 weeks
3rd deworming: between 12-14 weeks
Most dewormings are done 3-4 weeks apart coordinated with the puppy’s shots protocol.
After the last deworming another fecal may be tested to make sure all parasites are gone.
Nemex is a preferred dewormer since almost all puppies are affected by nematodes commonly known as “roundworms”. These worms often cause a typical symptomalogy in puppies and dogs as described below:
Pot bellied appearance
Weight loss despite eating well
Cough (when worms migrate to lungs)
Many times roundworms can be found alive in a dog’s feces or vomit. Roundworm eggs are disposedof when a dog defecates. Because roundworms are not species specific, humans must practice good hygiene. Roundworms have been found to affect humans especially children when hands were not washed after coming in contact with a roundworm infested dog’s feces. Because humans are not a natural host of this type of worm, once roundworm eggs are ingested, the larvae will not settle, but rather may migrate around aimlessly. Children have been known to become blind when the larvae travels to the eye. This condition is called Larvae migrans and is another reason why puppies and dogs must be dewormed ASAP.
The most common worms found in dogs are:
*Zoonotic= Transmittable to humans
As a dog owner, you may be tempted to save money by diagnosing and treating your puppy yourself by purchasing over the counter dewormers should you think your dog has worms. I would discourage doing so since each worm needs different treatments. Also dewormer dosages are based on your dog’s weight and therefore, it is best if your vet can professionally weigh your dog and give you dosage instructions along with information about possible side effects and drug interactions.
So the final answer to when to deworm puppies and dogs is ASAP for puppies and as needed for adult dogs. Worms can cause a variety of health ailments that are not pleasurable to deal with, if you add the fact that some parasites are even zoonotic, then deworming becomes imperative. Follow your veterinarian’s advice carefully and enjoy your new puppy or dog!