When intestinal worms take up residence in a dog's digestive tract, they disrupt his body's ability to absorb nutrients. This spells sickness for any dog, but it poses a special risk for growing puppies, who are more likely than older dogs to contract intestinal worms. For the pet owner who wishes to fight the problem naturally, pumpkin seeds can act as a dewormer.
Dangers of Intestinal Worms
Intestinal worms are endoparasites. They hurt a dog by feeding on the nutrients his body provides without providing anything in return. In some cases, they eat through the dog's intestinal walls. A dog can become infected with intestinal worms by eating infected animals or soil, touching infected soil or through his mother's womb or milk. The intestinal worms that most commonly infect dogs are tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms and whipworms.
If your dog is vomiting, coughing, lethargic, has diarrhea, poor appetite or a distended abdomen, it is reasonable to suspect he has intestinal worms. Small, white seed-like debris around the dog's anus may indicate tapeworms. Roundworms are rarely visible, though they may appear as spaghetti in his vomit or stool. Whipworms and hookworms are practically invisible to the naked eye. A veterinarian can examine a fecal sample under a microscope to look for worm eggs, but eggs may not be present even if your dog is infected.
How Pumpkin Works
For centuries, North Americans have used pumpkin seeds to treat intestinal worms in people. Pumpkin seeds offer a safe, natural way to treat your dog at home. They contain an amino acid called cucurbitin, which weakens intestinal worms. With repeated doses, worms die off and are expelled from the body. Evidence suggests that dogs can eat pumpkin seeds without side effects or interactions with other medications they may be taking.
Pumpkin seeds eliminate intestinal worms most effectively when they are freshly ground. This means that you should grind pumpkin seeds immediately before administering them to your dog. Recommended doses range from 60 grams for a small dog to 500 grams for a large dog, given three times daily. The ground seeds can be administered directly to the dog or added to wet or dry food. This should continue until all intestinal worms are gone.
Pumpkin seeds provide other health benefits to your dog besides ridding him of intestinal worms. They contain protein, fiber, amino acids, vitamins B3 and B9, and minerals such as potassium, copper, zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Such a nutrient-rich food is beneficial to your dog on any occasion. However, after an infection with intestinal worms, pumpkin seeds are especially beneficial for replenishing nutrients your dog's body may have lost.
- pumpkin image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com