Dogs of all ages, be it puppies or elderly dogs, are curious and adventurous by nature. Dogs use their nose and mouth to explore the world and taste, and sometimes this tasting behavior can pick up unwanted parasites outdoors. Dogs can pick up all types of worms but roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms are typically the most common, and these worms can be easily spread around the home and cause sickness in dogs. With this in mind, what are the best dewormers for dogs?
The best dewormers for dogs are those strong enough to kill intestinal parasites yet still tolerable enough not to cause side effects. A broad-spectrum dewormer with active ingredients pyrantel pamoate and fenbendazole work best to paralyze and kill worms and reduce strong side effects in dogs.
Deworming your dog is important, but it can also be difficult to know if your dog is even suffering from worms.
Additionally, with so many dewormers on the market, it is also important to know what the best dog dewormers are and how to administer them.
In this comprehensive and detailed guide, we will look closely at worms, their behaviors, and provide lots of details on dog dewormers, including a selection of some of the best on the market. We believe these to be:
- Bayer Chewable Quad Dewormer for Small Dogs
- Pro-Sense Dog Dewormer
- Durvet 2x Liquid Wormer
- Safeguard Canine Dewormer
- Panacur C Canine Dewormer
Read on to find out more.
What are dog worms?
If you have ever owned a dog, then you likely already know that worms are a common problem, particularly during the puppy stage. These organisms can also cause illnesses in puppies and dogs.
Worms that affect dogs are parasites that live and breed inside of an animal’s intestinal tract. There are also heartworms to be aware of, and these worms are incredibly deadly as they live in and slowly suffocate and alter the beating of a dog’s heart.
Heartworms are usually passed to dogs from mosquitoes, and these worms typically have to be treated with their own special medication, so for this guide on dewormers, we will focus on intestinal worms.
There are 4 primary types of intestinal worms in dogs. Roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms.
Each of these worms lives in either the intestinal tract of dogs or even the liver and lungs in the case of roundworms. Each worm also has different methods for attaching to a dog’s organs. Let’s take a detailed look at each of these types of worms.
Roundworms (Toxocara Canis) are a small and parasitic variety of worms that can grow up to 4 to 6 inches in length and have a white somewhat bulky appearance.
This worm is most common in puppies and is transmitted to dogs by the sniffing or licking or eating of feces. Roundworms seek out the smell of feces and purposefully burrow within it for the sole reason of waiting to be passed into a dog’s digestive tract if feces are licked or eaten.
Roundworms live, eat, and reproduce inside of a dog’s intestines. Female roundworms ensure that they are evenly spread throughout a region by laying thousands of eggs per day that are passed to all surrounding areas that the dog defecated around. All mammals that lick or eat feces acquire the worms.
Perhaps worst of all, roundworms will not only settle in the intestines, but the worms will also travel along with the bloodstream, through the liver, and eventually wind up in the lungs where they will also multiply and thrive.
Humans can also easily pick up roundworms from their infected dogs. Larvae and even eggs can be transmitted to humans by licking or touching a dog around the eyes and mouth, especially the rectal area, and then accidentally touching the face, mouth, or eyes.
Roundworms (Toxocara Canis) are normally diagnosed by a fecal sample and are easily treated. If you choose not to use dog deworm, then this could lead to your puppy having stunted growth and worst-case scenario, even death.
Hookworms (Ancylostoma caninum) are small, hook-shaped parasitic worms that live primarily in the small intestine of dogs. These worms are about the size of a dime and can be visible to the naked eye. The ends of their mouth region have small, sharp teeth that hook into the walls of the small intestine where the worms feed on blood.
Like roundworms, hookworms live, feed, and reproduce in the small intestine, and thousands of eggs are passed each day through a dog’s feces. Dogs can pick up hookworms through licking or eating feces, but hookworms can also easily attach themselves to a dog’s skin and penetrate through to the bloodstream where they arrive at and establish a dwelling in the small intestine.
Since hookworms live on blood, this can lead to some fairly alarming side effects in dogs, some of which can become life-threatening.
These types of worms can cause anaemia, causing your puppy or dog to become lethargic and short of breath. Like most worms, these can be fatal if left untreated and in extreme circumstances, they can be passed on to humans, primarily through anal leaking when your dog is sleeping or through touching.
Tapeworms (Dipylidium Caninum) is a type of parasitic worm that is also common to dogs just as it is to humans. Dog tapeworms are not quite as monstrous and long as human tapeworms can be, but will usually grow to about 4 to 6 inches, though the worms can grow larger if left untreated.
Fleas transmit a type of tapeworm and once your dog eats the flea, the tapeworm egg hatches and attaches to their intestinal lining. Tapeworm larvae can be visible and look like little grains of rice. If you notice your dog dragging its bottom along the grass, this is often a sign of tapeworms. The treatment for the deworming of dogs with tapeworm has the additional effect of ridding them of fleas.
Untreated tapeworms in your dog can lead to some serious side effects such as increased appetite, and serious weight loss, but apart from discomfort, there are no potentially life-threatening side effects of tapeworm infestation.
As far as a dog to human transmission with this type of tapeworm, it has occurred before but it is very low. This specific type of tapeworm that infects dogs is solely related to fleas that must be swallowed into the digestive tract. Since humans do not typically face instances where this can occur, the transmission of dog tapeworm to humans is not a concern like other types of worms in dogs.
Whipworms (Trichuris vulpis) is a type of parasitic worm that is about a quarter of an inch long and have a long and whiplike appearance and a white to yellowish color. Whipworms, along with roundworms, are the most common type of intestinal worm in dogs.
Whipworms prefer to live in a dog’s large intestine where the worms attach to the walls of the colon and feed on blood and nutrients from your dog’s body.
If you kennel your dog then they are more likely to be at risk from whipworm. Dogs tend to get whipworm from ingesting larvae from an infested substance such as soil, food, or feces, which is why it is so important to regularly clean up after your dog goes to the bathroom, even if the bathroom location is far away from the home.
It is so important that puppies, dogs with a low immune system, and higher-risk environments are wormed regularly as whipworms can lead to sickness. The most common side effects of whipworms are diarrhea, blood in the stool, and most cases visible weight loss.
Why do you need to deworm your gog?
A good dewormer for dogs is the best and truly the only method available to rid your dog of these nasty and concerning parasites. Without dewormers, we would truly have no idea how long it could take worms to leave a dog, and some worms can live consistently for years inside of a dog.
Fenbendazole is a drug that specifically targets the cellular mobility of an internal parasitic worm. The drug attacks the cells of a worm by paralyzing the transport receptors and poisoning the metabolic processes of the worm.
This drug has been extensively studied at the scientific level and is even effective at destroying internal worms at all of their life stages.
Pyrantel pamoate is a drug that possesses an interesting mechanism of action against internal worms. The drug works by targeting the teeth and mouthparts of worms by paralyzing these parts of the anatomy of the worms making the worms unable to attach to the walls of an organ.
Since the worms cannot attach to feed, they are then passed into the rectum like normal waste and expelled when a dog uses the bathroom.
Why are dewormers essential?
Deworming your dog is the only way in which you can remove parasitic worms from their system. Without dewormers, the parasites would continue to thrive in your dog’s intestines, liver, or lungs for weeks, months, and even years.
Dewormers work by attacking the worms and either killing eggs and larvae outright and paralyzing adult worms to the point where the parasites cannot feed or attach.
Since it will typically take multiple doses of dewormer to rid all of the worms in your dog’s system, it also must be understood that you cannot give your dog one dose of dewormer and expect the problem to immediately go away. Deworming can take days and more often than not, weeks to destroy an entire infestation.
By far, puppies are the life stage by which dogs are most commonly exposed to worms. Puppies lick, taste, and explore everything and it is only a matter of time before you notice worms in your puppy’s stool.
Although you may not think that worms are a big deal or the worms will pass in due time, this is actually an incorrect assessment to make and could lead to sickness within your puppy and even accidental transmission of the worms inside your own body.
This is why it is crucial to deworm puppies regardless of if you notice signs of worms or not. Also, tapeworms are a concern for dogs based on fleas, therefore, you must always keep your dog bathed with effective flea shampoos and treated with spot-on treatments to repel and kills fleas that land on your dog.
Dewormers can cause side effects in your dog, but these are usually brief and treatable and certainly worth it in the end.
How will I know dewormers are working for my dog?
If you can, try and get a look at the worms found in the feces of your dog, as you want to check that you have been treating your dog for the correct type – although you can get all-purpose deworming products (more on this below) that are capable of killing more than one species of worm.
Honestly, it’s never nice to notice worms, trust us on this, we understand completely since Rosie had issues with worms when she was a puppy, but it is much better that they pass through your dog than remain inside as this can cause health problems. Plus it’s just plain creepy and maddening to think of live worms crawling inside your dog, and worst of all, potentially infecting you as well.
Additionally, an improvement in overall health and physical appearance can indicate that your dog’s dewormer is working and that worms are leaving his/her body.
You should notice a significant improvement to the overall health and well-being of your dog once they have been successfully dewormed. If however, your dog looks bloated, is lethargic, dehydrated, and has a loss of appetite, then you should seek veterinary advice.
It is also important to note that puppies, after deworming, may not be free of worms. Depending on where they are with their vaccinations will determine how many rounds of dewormer are required over a set period of time.
This is why puppies are not allowed to socialize within the first 3 weeks of their life as they are more susceptible to becoming reinfected.
If, however, after several bowel movements you notice that the worms are still bright white or yellow in color and are moving, then this could indicate that the medication hasn’t worked and it is worth checking with your veterinarian.
Although your vet will recommend that you worm your puppy at two and four weeks of age, and then monthly until they reach 6 months, adult dogs require regular deworming every 3 months. If you are taking your dog abroad, then most countries will insist that your dog has been treated for Tapeworm prior to entry.
Furthermore, a smaller dog is always at risk of catching worms due to low proximity to the ground making transmission much easier.
How often do you deworm a dog?
A common concern amongst dog owners is the unknown factor of just how often you need to deworm your dog based on how long the worms can stay in your dog’s system.
This is why it is so important to make sure that your pet has actually digested the worming treatment as some dogs tend to spit them out or hide the tablets in their cheeks. It is also not uncommon for some dogs to vomit after taking the medication.
If any of these situations occur and your dog has failed to swallow or properly consumed their dewormer tablet, then you should contact your vet for further advice.
Providing your dog has digested the intestinal worms treatment, then you should start to see rapid results. The deworming process starts immediately and within 2 to 6 hours after administering, your dog is likely to start passing worms.
Be warned, however, that it can take anything from a few days to up to two weeks in total for your dog to be worm-free, depending on the severity of the infestation and the type of worms you are trying to treat.
The most common way to pass worms is through a dog’s stool, so if you see worms in your dog’s feces post-treatment, then don’t be alarmed. This is actually a sign of progress even though you may think that this is just the normal activity of the worms. The dewormer can also flush live worms out just as much as it kills the worms and pushes the dead worms through the colon.
In fact, some puppies and even adult dogs with chronic cases of worms can eject them by throwing the worms up. If this is the case then you will need to seek proper medical care. Contact your vet so that they can make sure that all the intestinal parasites have been treated and exterminated. Severe vomiting can also lead to dehydration, which can be a medical emergency.
Some deworming treatments paralyze and kill the worms, therefore, you are likely to see dead worms when collecting your dog’s feces, but other products simply dissolve the worms. If this is the case, then you won’t see whole worms wrapped up in your dog’s feces, you’ll see bits of intestinal worms instead.
Keep monitoring your dog’s stool and appearance and behavior, and always follow the label instructions of your dewormer explicitly.
Can dogs get worms again after being successfully treated?
It may seem hard to believe, but your dog can certainly become reinfected with worms after an extensive deworming treatment has concluded. The risk of your dog picking up worms again is as easy as once again doing what led to worms in the first place.
All a dog has to do is lick, roll around in, or walk through soil contaminated with worms, and reinfestation will occur once again. Our Rosie particularly likes horse poop, and as these often contain worms, you should monitor your dog closely when out for a walk!
You should always make it a habit to pick up and properly dispose of your dog’s feces after they use the bathroom since worms will crawl into the feces waiting for a dog or other animal to ingest the waste.
To prevent a tapeworm reinfestation, always make sure your dog is fully cleaned and treated with flea shampoos and topical medications that will kill fleas as soon as they land on your dog. All your dog has to do is bite or ingest a flea carrying tapeworm eggs and the infestation is guaranteed to occur again.
It is hard, if not downright impossible, to keep your dog out of the soil and grass, so it can become hard to prevent something like hookworms from infesting a dog again. The best way to address this problem is to take your dog to new areas to use the bathroom, but be sure and avoid common areas like dog parks or walking trails where others allow their dogs to go to the bathroom.
Consider allowing your dog to use parts of unused pavement to use the bathroom but be sure to thoroughly clean the pavement after your dog finishes.
Ultimately, it is a matter of knowing how dogs ingest worms in the first place that can help you make the best-informed decisions on ensuring that your dog is not reinfested with worms.
There are no known remedies that can make your dog’s system unattractive to worms, but feeding your dog an organic and healthy diet with apple cider vinegar in small amounts can also help in preventing worms (more on this below).
What is the best deworming medicine for dogs?
Provided here is a selection of some of the best dog dewormers on the market. After some research, we found that the first dewormer mentioned is likely the best to try with Cavapoos and Doodles.
Bayer Chewable Quad Dewormer for Small Dogs (Best for Cavapoos and Doodles)No products found.
Bayer Quad Dewormer kills four types of worms (including tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms) in dogs and puppies 3 weeks of age and older. If you see worms in your dog’s poop, it means more are growing, feeding on, and taking shelter inside your dog. This particular dewormer treats in a single dose and can be used at the first sign of worms.
Additionally, you should practice good prevention methods to decrease the risk of reinfection. Bathe your dog after they’ve been playing or running through bushes and grassy areas or rolling around in the dirt. Promptly pick up your dog’s poop from your yard, on walks, in dog parks, or other areas your pet may frequently encounter. And watch out for your dog trying to eat another dog’s poop.
Do not forget to wash your hands regularly, especially after cleaning up your dog’s poop or working in the garden! Avoid walking barefoot or lying on the ground in areas that are known to be common animal soiling spots.
This medication has minimal side effects and provides just the right dosage for small breeds like Doodles.
- An easy-to-give beef-flavored chewable tablet
- Broad-spectrum dewormer
- Effective against tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms
- For use in dogs over 4 weeks of age
- May cause nausea in some dogs
The Pro-Sense brand is always a sign of quality as it offers a variety of proactive, sensible solutions for all of your pet’s healthcare and wellness needs. Pro-Sense 3 Day Treatment Dewormer Solutions treats and controls the 4 most common types of worms. Packaged in 3, 4-gram dosages this medication forcefully targets and treats tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms.
The medication will target tapeworms differently. The medicine will first kill and then help dissolve tapeworm segments in the intestine for easier passing in your dog’s bowel movements in stages.
It is recommended that weaned pups, meaning those 6-8 weeks old, should be dewormed at approximately 6, 8, 10, and 12 weeks of age while dogs 6 months of age and over should be dewormed at least twice each year.
Daily dosages will vary so it is important to weigh your dog to make sure the correct dosage is administered. After weighing follow the guide on the back of the packaging to ensure treatment and control of worms.
Note: This medication is fairly strong, and it is most likely that your dog will experience some side effects due to this potency. Nausea and vomiting are the most common.
- 4 in 1 canine dewormer
- Strong and effective
- Provided in specific dosages for easier use
- Uncomfortable side effects
This liquid wormer is not only used to prevent reinfestation of tapeworms in puppies and adult dogs, but also for the removal of large roundworms. Additionally, the product controls both hookworms and larger roundworms that have grown out of control.
Durvet is safe to use on puppies as young as two weeks as is formulated in a flavor that dogs love. Liquid dewormers are easy to administer and you do not have to withhold food before using the product.
This dewormer uses pyrantel pamoate as the active ingredient and you can administer one full teaspoonful (5mL) for every 10 lbs of body weight. To assure proper dosage, weigh your dog before treatment.
For best results, the presence of specific worms should be confirmed by laboratory fecal examination. Consult your veterinarian for assistance in the diagnosis, treatment, and control of parasitism.
The great thing about liquid dewormers is that it is much easier to assure that your dog gets the full dose of medication. Tablets and pills can be problematic depending on how your dog responds to these, but liquid dewormer is a one-swallow application.
- Prevents reinfestation
- Controls both hookworms and large roundworms
- A palatable flavor that dogs love
- Easy to administer and you do not have to withhold food before using
- May cause an unpredictable reaction in dogs not used to liquid medications
- Strong and may cause side effects
Safeguard 4 Canine De-Wormer provides safe and effective treatment and control of tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms in easy-to-feed granules that can be mixed into food. This product is safe for young puppies over the age of 6 weeks, pregnant female dogs, and even heartworm-infected dogs.
Each dose treats and controls the 4 most common types of worms and is safe and effective for dogs up to 40 pounds. The structure of the formula is convenient, highly palatable granules that you can mix right into your dog’s food for hassle-free de-worming treatment. Safe for any breed of young puppies over the age of 6 weeks and pregnant dogs.
Each product contains three 4-gram pouches, with a highly effective formula containing fenbendazole which is the same active ingredient found in prescription canine dewormers. Be sure not to deworm a puppy or dog that is already sick as the potency of the dewormer could cause severe nausea.
- Safe-Guard treats against tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms all at the same time
- Easy to feed granules that mix into food
- Safe for young puppies over the age of 6 weeks, pregnant dogs, and heartworm infected dogs
- Must be administered for 3 consecutive days and is effective for 6 months
- Each package contains three 1-gram pouches
- Can cause an already sick dog to feel even worse
Panacur C is a broad-spectrum parasiticide used to treat hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms in dogs. It is also used by veterinarians to treat other parasites. The product contains 100% fenbendazole that binds to parasitic proteins, which leads to the damaging of the integrity and the transport function of cells in parasites.
Although a potent concentration of pure fenbendazole, side effects are rare but may include loose stools, so this is certainly something to watch out for. The usual dose for dogs is given at once a day for 3 consecutive days. The medication can be mixed with a small amount of your dog’s usual food. Dry dog food may require slight moistening to allow for proper mixing and all Medicated food must be fully consumed to be effective.
This medication should not be used in animals allergic to it. This medication is very strong, and although it is listed as not having any serious side effects, some reviewers report that dogs immediately start vomiting after the medication starts to absorb. Since some dewormers may not get the job done, using Panacur C is certainly the right move if you want to address the problem effectively.
With this said, the severity of the product in causing side effects makes this selection a proceed at your own risk type of medication. You can always consult with your veterinarian about Panacur C and get their firm opinion on the product before making a judgment.
- Treats the 4 most common internal worms in dogs all at once
- Strong and effective
- Severe vomiting has been known to occur
Are over-the-counter dog dewormer products effective?
Over-the-counter dog dewormers are certainly effective and this is because both fenbendazole and pyrantel pamoate are marketed to be used as such.
Most of these products that your buy at retailers are specifically aimed towards treating roundworms since these are the most common types of intestinal worms found in dogs. But if you choose to invest in a broad-spectrum dewormer, this can address virtually any type of worm living within your dog’s internal system.
Most over-the-counter dewormers are also popular because they are easy-to-use and this is a process that you can do yourself without having to take your dog to the vet. But it is not accurate to say that over-the-counter dewormers are the best dewormers for dogs, as medications available only through a veterinarian are truly the best.
What dewormer do vets use for dogs?
Veterinarians will typically use the types of ingredients in medications available from retailers. But, there is an added benefit of allowing your vet to treat your dog for worms.
A vet can do tests to determine exactly the type of worm that is present inside your dog and prescribe a tailored medication that specifically targets the type of worm. Over-the-counter dewormers will sometimes only address roundworms or use broad-spectrum formulations that may treat certain kinds of worms and miss the main type of worm altogether.
A veterinarian may also have stronger or weaker potencies of common dewormers that can be tailored to the severity of the infestation and how your dog may react to certain side effects from the medication.
What dewormer kills all worms in dogs?
The best dewormer to kill all worms in dogs would be a broad-spectrum dewormer. A broad-spectrum dewormer works by targeting the 4 main types of worms that dogs contract. But the reality is that no one magic pill can immediately kill all worms in a dog if there is more than one type of worm present (yes, this does happen).
There is also the problem of some worms, usually roundworms and hookworms, that can become hidden inside of the muscle tissue in the intestines or lungs and therefore safe from the medication flowing throughout the organ.
This is why taking your dog to a veterinarian is always the most effective method in ensuring that a proper diagnosis is performed and targeted treatment is given.
Is there a natural dewormer for dogs?
Since there are known side effects that dogs can get from dewormers, you may be wondering if there are any effective natural dewormers for your dog. Yes, you can use some natural remedies to fight against and prevent worms in your dog.
Feeding your dog a whole, fresh organic diet is one way to combat worms. Additionally, using pumpkin seeds, apple cider vinegar in small amounts, and feeding your dog bone broth are all great ways to boost your dog’s immune system to help kill and remove worms.
With this in mind, natural remedies are truly best used as a preventative technique; if your dog has active worms, dewormers are the most effective methods available in killing the worms and ridding the worms from your dog’s system.
Final thoughts on best dog dewormers
In summary, there are 4 main species of worms that affect dogs, and each species can lead to some unpleasant symptoms in your dog. Using a strong and broad-spectrum worm medication is the best method available for killing all the worms and flushing the parasites out of your dog’s system.
Dewormer medications attack, paralyze, and subsequently kill internal worms. Be sure to pick a proper dewormer based on the type of worm in your dog or a broad-spectrum dewormer to address multiple types of worms.
Also, check out our guide on how to properly deworm Cavapoo puppies if you are the new owner of a Cavapoo puppy.