How Often Should I Worm My Cat or Dog and Why?

worming cats and dogs

Are you worming your pet regularly enough? “How often should I worm my cat or dog” are among questions of concern our vets are often asked. Many pet owners do not realise that their pet needs to be wormed on a very regular basis to ensure that they are protected. Here, we look at why you need to stay on top of your worming treatment for cats and dogs and how often they will need to be wormed.

The Key Benefits of Worming

Even healthy-looking pets can have worms and there won’t always be obvious signs of this. This is why it is so important to keep up a regular worming routine so that your pet is not affected by worms at any stage.

If symptoms are present, they can include evidence of worms in your pet’s faeces or vomit, weight loss, increased appetite, diarrhoea, dry and coarse looking fur and weakness.

Puppies and kittens with a severe infection can also have a ‘pot belly’.

A good worming routine won’t just protect your pet against the dangers of worms, it will help protect you and your family too as some worms can be passed onto humans and can lead to health problems, including blindness.

How Often Should You Worm Your Pet?

You should be looking to worm your pet about once every three months. It’s particularly important for pets that spend a lot of time outdoors and cats that hunt mice and birds, as they are at an increased risk of picking up worms. Regular worming is key as pets can easily become reinfected after treatment. Most treatments will kill worms that have already been picked up by your pet and stop their development so that they can’t cause damage. This does not provide a long term effect, hence the need for regular treatment.

Young dogs will often get worms but that is not to say that puppies won’t then require regular worming, as they get older. As with all pets, worming will still need to be done frequently to continue the benefits and to prevent future infections.

Because pets can potentially be vulnerable to both roundworm and tapeworm, it is advisable to choose a product that protects against both of these types of worms. Your vet can advise on the most appropriate type of worming product for your pet.  If you are worried about giving your pet tablets, there are worming treatments that are designed to be easier to swallow and some are not in tablet form at all, but easier to administer spot on treatments.

Alongside a good worming treatment, it is crucial to maintain a year-round flea treatment too. This is because tapeworms can also be picked up via flea eggs, which could be swallowed during grooming.

Ask your vet for advice on what to use for your pet, particularly for small puppies and kittens as they can only have specific products designed for younger animals.