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Deworming Puppies - Deworming Your Puppy Early and Regularly

You may not think about it at first when you look into a litter box with cute little puppies, but these little rascals can be infected with worms right from birth. This not only acutely endangers their health, but can even negatively affect the growth of some organs and weaken the immune system to such an extent that the puppy dies. Hence the importance of deworming puppies as early as possible and on a regular basis.

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How do puppies get worms?

You’re probably wondering how an innocent puppy could possibly get worms so early? Most female dogs carry encapsulated roundworm or pinworm larvae that are activated by the hormonal changes that take place in the body during pregnancy and then enter the dam’s uterus where they can infect the unborn pups. Since heavy infestation poses a hazard to puppy health and growth, breeders have to deworm them. This is done at the age of two weeks and at regular intervals thereafter.

Why worms are so dangerous for puppies

Puppies are at risk of getting worms themselves due to possible infection in utero and the fact that the larvae can also enter the digestive tract of the puppies through the maternal milk. But what makes worms so dangerous for puppies? Not deworming puppies when appropriate allows rapid multiplication of the parasites which poses a serious risk to the host. A severe worm infestation can have dire consequences for puppies, damaging their lungs or liver, or leading to severe stomach & intestines disturbances that can weaken their young bodies enough to kill them. The presence of adult roundworms in the intestine in the context of a severe infestation often leads to life-threatening intestinal obstruction. In addition, a worm infestation also poses a risk to humans, especially young children, which is another good reason to deworm puppies.

Deworming puppies: how to rid them of parasites

To avoid life-threatening complications from worms in puppies, breeders are advised to deworm puppies as early as two weeks of age. There are special deworming treatments that can be administered to the pups according to the veterinarian’s instructions. Deworming should be repeated every fortnight and continued until the second week after weaning. Use only medicines prescribed by a vet to deworm puppies; alternative herbal remedies are not recommended for this purpose. To protect the puppies, you can also deworm the dam, but there are no approved veterinary medicines for this in Germany.

 

However, since deworming the dam is proven to make sense, you should discuss it with your vet.

Deworming puppies – why so often?

You may be wondering why puppies need to be dewormed so often? The answer is because of the ever-present possibility of infection through the maternal milk. This is why it is advisable to deworm puppies at two-weeks and then once more two weeks after weaning. After that, dogs only need deworming every three months.

Are deworming agents dangerous for puppies?

Deworming agents are controversial among dog owners because they are chemicals that kill living organisms, namely worms. However, modern deworming agents are designed to target structures which are specific to the parasites to be eliminated, i.e. not found in other living creatures.

 

If you wish to reduce the frequency of deworming in your adult dog, you can bring a stool sample to the vet and have it tested for worm infestation first (more on this in the Worming Guide). However, this is not an option with puppies.

 

Current deworming agents for puppies and dogs go through many clinical trials and have few side effects. Medicines intended for breastfeeding bitches and puppies in particular undergo comprehensive safety tests before they are allowed on the market. Compared to the harm that worms can cause pups, the risks from side effects are considered low. Possible uncommon side effects include transient stomach & intestines disturbances. Timely and regular deworming is essential for healthy growth and a good immune system. To give puppies a healthy start in life, it is therefore advisable to follow the recommended deworming regimens.

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