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As any dog lover will tell you, puppies are absolutely the cutest things on earth and can quickly become an integral part of the family. Puppies give so much and require so little, including regular health care. Part of that health care involves getting rid of worms. There are a number of different worms that can seriously affect the puppy's health, even causing death.
Watch your puppy for signs of worms. "Puppy breath" is a common sign that the puppy might have worms. Diarrhea, anemia, a loss of interest in eating, weight loss despite having a good appetite or rubbing his bottom on the ground are also signs. The easiest sign is seeing the worms in the stools; however, several varieties of worms are not visible to the naked eye.
Treat your puppy for worms by initially taking him to the vet. This should be done before the puppy is three weeks old. Generally, a vet will conduct a test for worms as part of the regular check-up. If worms are present, he will administer the initial treatment. Because there are different types of worms, it's important to your puppy's health--and to you and your family's health--that you get the correct medication for treatment.
Continue treating your puppy at home. Since worms can be present in their living environment as well as in their mother's milk, the puppies can be infected again. The vet can prescribe a de-wormer that can be used at home after the initial treatment in the vet's office. Generally, puppies are retreated every two weeks, until they are past eight weeks old. The amount of de-wormer given to the puppy is based upon her weight. Measure the de-worming medication and let the puppy lick it from the spoon or suck it from an eye-dropper.
Treat the mother for worms since she is mostly likely a carrier--even if she has had a negative test, worms can remain dormant in her system. Get the initial de-worming medication from the vet and repeat the home treatment every two weeks.
Prevent re-infestation of worms in the puppies and the mother dog. Don't feed them raw meats of any kind. Clean up their sleeping area and keep the yard cleaned of all dog stools. Dispose of the stools in the trash; flushing them down the toilet can transfer an infestation to other locations, as the worms can survive the treatments at water treatment facilities. When she is walked, don't allow your dog to sniff other stools.
Worms can live on the ground for up to seven years and can be transmitted to your dog by even one sniff.
Some worms in puppies can be transmitted to humans. Always wash your hands after handling dogs.
Give your puppy the correct dosage of de-worming medication, as it can be toxic in too large an amount.
- Paula K. Parker