How does my dog get worms?

Almost all puppies are born with roundworms passed on from their mother before birth or via the milk. The eggs are passed in faeces and can survive in the soil for several years. These eggs can then re-infect your dog.

Tapeworms have an intermediate host, this means your dog cannot get infected by tapeworm eggs, but instead gets infected by eating the intermediate host. The most common tapeworm that infects dogs is carried by the flea – one of the reasons flea prevention is so important. Other tapeworm intermediate hosts include rabbits, rodents and farm animals, so if your dog is a scavenger or you feed raw food, your dog will be more likely to be infected.

Is it really a problem if my dog has worms?

Worms tend to cause no or only mild signs in dogs (weight loss, diarrhoea) but high burdens can cause a problem. Roundworms can also infect humans, with the potential to cause damage to major organs including the brain and eye. British tapeworms don’t infect humans but can cause significant problems to their intermediate hosts so control is important to protect the farming community. There is a tapeworm not currently present in the UK which can cause potentially fatal disease in humans, which is why it is so important to worm dogs travelling into the UK from abroad.

How should I prevent my pet from getting worms?

The gold standard prevention is to treat against roundworms every month and against tapeworms every six months. This is particularly important in puppies whose growth can be stunted by high worm burdens, and dogs living on farms, or regularly walked across farmland.

The treatments we recommend are a prescription only monthly Spot-On preparation – which is active against fleas, roundworms and other parasites and a six-monthly tablet active against tapeworms.

If you only want to treat against worms we supply a prescription only combination roundwormer and tapewormer which should be used monthly. We can provide other treatment on request.