The reality of the situation is that worms are quite common in dogs. In a study, intestinal parasites such as hookworms as well as whipworms were found in more than 20 percent of dogs and 85 % of dog parks across the United States.
Thankfully, it is easy to treat worms in dogs, so you can protect your canine companion against future infections. There are different types of dewormers for dogs available on the market. These can be used to get rid of worms. Long-term parasite control products that are effective against multiple types of worms and can be used year-round are also available.
What Is Deworming for Dogs?
Every dog is at risk of encountering worms, like hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, and even tapeworms. Dewormers are medications that kill such types of intestinal parasites that your dog might have contracted. These medications are called anthelmintics, a few medications also help to prevent reinfection for a period.
A lot of deworming products are effective for more than a singular type of worm. There are many different varieties and drug classes. Generally, products that are effective against flat-shaped worms such as tapeworms are not effective against round-shaped worms, like roundworms, whipworms, or even hookworms.
Dewormers are available in the form of pills, chewable tablets, as well as liquids. A few of the common active ingredients you will spot in dewormers for dogs are:
- Febantel/Fenbendazole: For treating roundworms, hookworms, lungworms, whipworms, and a few rare species of tapeworms
- Ivermectin: Heartworm preventative. It is also effective against hookworms and roundworms
- Pyrantel Pamoate: It is effective against intestinal roundworms as well as hookworms
- Praziquantel: Used commonly to treat tapeworms
Though most dewormers for dogs require the veterinarian’s prescription, there are some over-the-counter options available.
How Do Dogs Get Worms?
You might assume your dog has no worms, but unfortunately, your pup can pick up the parasites just by being outside. They can get worms by just sticking their nose in the dirt at the dog park, or by chasing and eating small animals. There are many scenarios that can put dogs at risk of contracting worms.
Intestinal worms are commonly transmitted when dogs ingest contaminated soil or feces containing eggs. Or from immature worms that have been passed from other infected animals in their environment.
A dog can even be infected with a common species of tapeworm by accidentally ingesting an infected flea.
A type of worm that dogs are at risk of, though it’s not an intestinal worm, is known as heartworm. Heartworm, as you can gather by the name, is an internal parasite that lives in the blood vessels inside the lungs and heart. Dogs can be infected by heartworms after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Heartworms cause organ damage and heart failure, and in the worst-case scenario even led to death if left untreated.
Why Is Dewormer Important?
Dewormer for dogs is not only crucial to get rid of an infection, but, it also helps to keep the entire household healthy. A few intestinal worms, such as roundworms and hookworms, are also infectious to people.
If these are left untreated, the parasites can cause serious health problems for the dog. Intestinal worms can display a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms, for example, diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, and even vomiting. The majority of veterinarians recommend using year-round parasite protection to keep your dog healthy and to help avoid any reinfection.
If your dog is suffering from intestinal worms, the veterinarian will prescribe a deworming medication. After the infection clears, the veterinarian may recommend year-round parasite protection medication. In other cases, the veterinarian might just recommend treating the infection using a long-term parasite protection medication, then advise you to keep your dog on it year-round. Year-round parasite protection medications are essentially dewormers.
Say your dog is on a heartworm preventative and understand that this is often effective against some of the intestinal worms, as well.
6 Vet-Approved Dewormers for Dogs
It is important to consult with a veterinarian to properly choose the best dewormer for your dog. Product type, dosing, as well as frequency, are key factors when considering treatment. The vet will also account for factors such as the dog’s age, breed, as well as other medical conditions to select the best possible option for the treatment and/or control of worms.
Best Dewormer for Dogs with 5-Worm Protection – Interceptor Plus
Interceptor Plus is a monthly, chicken-flavored chewable, this treats five types of dangerous worms. It will protect your dog against heartworm disease along with prevention from hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm, as well as whipworm infections. The ingredients are milbemycin oxime & praziquantel. This prescription medication is suitable for dogs that are 6 weeks (about 1 and a half months) or older and 2 pounds or heavier.
- Prevention of heartworm disease
- Treats and helps in control of roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, and tapeworm infections
- Needs to be given monthly
- Chicken-flavored and chewable tablets
Note – Available by prescription only
Best Dewormer with Flea Control – Trifexis
As fleas are the carriers of a common species of tapeworm, you might want a product that offers flea control in addition to deworming. Trifexis is the solution in this regard, as it not only deworms but also offers heartworm prevention while also killing adult fleas. Trifexis medication is effective against hookworm, roundworm, along with whipworm infections. It comes in small, beef-flavored tablets. This can be given to dogs that are 8 weeks (about 2 months) and older, it is designed to be used once a month.
- Prevention of heartworm disease
- Treats as well as controls hookworm, roundworm, and whipworm infections
- This kills adult fleas to prevent flea infestations
- It is Beef-flavored
Note -Available by prescription only
Trifexis does not treat or control tapeworm infections. However, it kills fleas, which usually carry tapeworms. It is on the expensive side of dewormers
Best Broad Spectrum Dewormer for Dogs – Drontal Plus
Drontal Plus is a dewormer that’s effective on a wide range of parasites. It is safe, and effective, and eliminates all parasites within seven days. This prescription medication treats tapeworms, hookworms, and roundworms, along with whipworms. It uses a combination of praziquantel, pyrantel pamoate, along with febantel. This dewormer is available in both tablet as well as chewable forms. Drontal Plus can be given to any dog over 3 weeks old.
- Kills nine species of intestinal worms
- It’s available in tablet and chewable form
- Suitable for dogs as well as puppies, as long as they are over 3 weeks old
- It’s Affordable and FDA-approved
Note – Available by prescription only
Best Dewormer with Heartworm Prevention – Heartgard Plus
The majority of pet owners like to take care of regular deworming as well as heartworm prevention in one step, this is what makes Heartgard popular. When given monthly, the prescription medication uses ivermectin to kill heartworm larvae. It also treats several types of hookworms as well as roundworms. Heartgard tablets are in the form of chewable beef-flavored tablets, and the medication can be given to puppies starting at 6 weeks (about 1 and a half months) old.
- Heartgard Plus provides heartworm prevention
- This eliminates hookworms & roundworms
- Heartgard Plus is a Beef-flavored chewable tablet.
- It is suitable for dogs and puppies over 6 weeks (about 1 and a half months) old
Notes – This is available by prescription only. Certain dog breeds are sensitive to ivermectin, it also doesn’t treat or control whipworms or even tapeworms.
Best Over-the-Counter Dewormer for Dogs – Quad Dewormer
Quad Dewormer is a medication that doesn’t require a prescription, it treats four common types of worms—tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. It uses a combination of praziquantel, pyrantel pamoate, along with febantel. The medication is in the form of a chewable beef-flavored tablet shaped like little bones. There are different doses available for small, medium, and large breed dogs. This dewormer can be given to puppies over 3 weeks old, for them, only a single dose is required.
- Quad Dewormer eliminates tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, as well as whipworms
- Doesn’t require a prescription
- Quad Dewormer is a Beef-flavored chewable tablet
- It is suitable for dogs as well as puppies if they are over 3 weeks old
Note – Different doses are required depending on the dog’s size.
Best Dewormer for Puppies – PetArmor Sure Shot 2X
Puppies can also catch worms from their mothers, which is why most veterinarians recommend deworming young dogs every few weeks until they turn 8 to 12 weeks (about 3 months) old. The vet may have specific recommendations on what you should use, however, one popular option is the PetArmor Sure Shot 2X. As it is suitable for puppies as young as 2 weeks old. The liquid dewormer contains pyrantel pamoate, it is available over the counter and doesn’t require a prescription. It’s effective against roundworms as well as hookworms, it can also be given to lactating mothers after they give birth. In order to prevent them from reinfecting the puppies through their milk.
- It is suitable for puppies over the age of 2 weeks
- Can be given to lactating mothers
- It is a convenient liquid formula
- Kills roundworms as well as hookworms
- Doesn’t require a prescription
Note – Not effective against whipworms and tapeworms
Factors to take into consideration before selecting a Dewormer:
- Proper diagnosis: If you assume your dog has worms, it is essential you bring your dog to the veterinarian to get a proper diagnosis before you select a Dewormer for treatment. A fecal evaluation is critical to define and diagnose the type of parasite infesting your dog. Proper treatment protocols and safety precautions must also be taken. It is important to note that, many times, pets harbor more than one parasitic infection at a time, which will be evaluated and concluded by the vet.
- Types of parasites: There are different types of intestinal worms that can affect your dog. Different medications are effective against different parasites. Some dewormers help to prevent heartworm disease, which causes serious illness, sometimes even death.
- Active ingredients: A few of the most common active ingredients in dog dewormers are febantel, ivermectin, pyrantel pamoate, as well as praziquantel. Each one is effective against a specific type of worm. You need to talk to your veterinarian about which ingredients make sense to properly treat your pet.
- Frequency & Dosing: When you select a dewormer, you should also consider how often it needs to be administered, you also need to know the proper dose for your dog. Medications that contain heartworm preventative are generally given monthly.
- Parasite prevention: Thankfully, if your dog doesn’t currently have worms, the veterinarian might still recommend a year-round parasite protection product based on the dog’s individual needs. The vet will even offer guidance on the proper dosage and frequency.