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Keep worms at bay with advice from our resident vet
Keep reading for all you need to know about worms and how to treat your pet and home to prevent them returning.
What are worms?
Worms are parasites that live inside your pets - usually in their intestines but sometimes in their organs. If left untreated, as well as causing considerable harm to your pet some worms can be transferred to you or your children. It's not always possible to tell if your dog or cat has worms so it's crucial to make sure they're treated regularly with a suitable worming product. The most common types of parasitic worms found in cats and dogs in the UK are tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms and whipworms.
How do cats and dogs catch worms?1
From their mum - puppies and kittens are often born with roundworms which is why they need to be wormed on their first trip to the vet2
By coming into contact with other dog and cat faeces3
From fleas - the larval stages of tapeworm are carried in fleas4
Eating raw sheep meat6
Living in an unclean environment where faeces is not cleaned up regularly
What signs should I look out for?
Because worms live inside your pets, it's not always easy to tell if they're infected which is another good reason to keep on top of worming. However, some general signs of worms can include:
– Dragging their bum on the floor
– Vomiting – Diarrhoea
– Loss of appetite
– Eating lots but losing weight
– A dull coat
– Pot belly
– Worms in their poo
– Rice-like bits in their poo
How can I treat worms?
The most effective to way to ensure your pets stay worm free is to worm them regularly. Worming programmes vary with age and the individual animal, but generally adult dogs should be treated at least four times a year (once every three months), and puppies every two weeks until they are 12 weeks old, then monthly until six months old, then once every three months as for an adult dog.
Kittens should be treated once every two weeks until 12 weeks old and then every three months. Don't forget, wormers aren't immunisers and won't stop your pets getting worms in the first place, so you must stick to a tight worming schedule!
There are lots of different types of wormers available so check the product information carefully before you buy, you'll soon find out which one works for you and your pet. They come in liquid and tablet form and many are cleverly disguised as treats so your pet will be none the wiser. Consult your vet if you have any questions.
Is there anything else I can do prevent my pet catching worms?
Aside from making sure you regularly worm your dog, there are several other things you can do to minimise their chance of catching worms:1
Regularly treat your pets for fleas2
Make sure your home is free from mice and rats3
Always clean up their mess4
Keep your home and garden clean5
Don't encourage them to hunt for vermin6
Groom your pets regularly