Correctly deworming puppies and dogs

Roundworms, tapeworms & hookworms are dangerous parasites for dogs. Regularly deworming treatment or faecal analysis is therefore essential. They protect against uncontrolled multiplication and risks to health. We'll tell you how to do it right.

Dogs need your help when it comes to deworming

Worms pose a serious threat to the health of your dog. They can become infected with these dangerous parasites even prior to birth. That’s why they need your help. From an early age – and throughout the dog’s entire life.

Early and regular deworming for dogs means this is no longer a problem today. We’ll tell you how to do it correctly. Ranging from effectively administering medication during deworming to special treatment for puppies and pregnant she-dogs, through to the targeted deworming of individual risk groups.

How do dogs become infected with worms?

It is more than likely that sooner or later a dog will come into contact with worms or their larvae or eggs. This can even happen in the womb or via the mother’s milk. What’s more, the parasites can be found in any meadow, garden, woods or fields. Worms are particularly prevalent in faeces. They can be picked up very quickly when sniffing or licking. The same thing can happen when sniffing an infected canine friend. You also need to bear in mind that your dog contracts worms or other parasites from prey. That’s why you always need to keep an eye on your dog and stop him from hunting or picking up carrion.

What typical symptoms present themselves with worms?

There is not just one type of worm that can infect your dog. Tapeworms, roundworms, whipworms, and hookworms are among those considered. Although the gastrointestinal tract is almost always impaired, the symptoms are not always identical. In many cases no symptoms can be detected during the initial stages or with a mild infestation. During the advanced stages, you can expect diarrhoea, loss of appetite, emaciation, coat alterations and itching on the anus. If a puppy is already infested with roundworms, this can be identified by a distended abdomen.

How often is it recommended to deworm your dog?

It depends on whether the deworming treatment is administered correctly. Many dog owners are still unsure how to responsibly and effectively deworm their dog. Dr Thomas Schnieder will explain precisely how long the protective effect of a deworming treatment lasts. He is Head of the Institute for Parasitology at the  University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover and Chairperson of the independent expert organisation ESCCAP:

Tip 1

A deworming treatment takes only 24 hours!

During this time, the worms and their development stages in the animal’s intestine are killed off. The dog then no longer has any worms and no longer excretes any contagious worm eggs. He is thus free of worms – but can become infected again at any time by absorbing new worm eggs. In this case, it takes a few weeks for adult worms to redevelop in the dog’s intestine and for contagious eggs to be excreted. For roundworms this is approx. four weeks, for tapeworms this is usually longer and less than four weeks for the more rarely occurring hookworms.

Tip 2

Repeat deworming culture every three months

If you want to be 100% sure that your dog is worm-free and that it does not excrete contagious eggs, you need to deworm your four-legged friend on a monthly basis. However, this is only recommended in special cases such as a very high risk of infection (potentially with hunting dogs) and close contact with small children or ill people.

For a normal risk of infection, on average it will suffice to carry out deworming treatments and faecal analyses every three months. This minimises the excretion of contagious eggs, and stops worm infestation before it damages the animal. Further information on protection from parasites in dogs can be found on the ESCCAP website at

Tip 3

What does a deworming treatment cost?

It does not cost much to deworm your dog. On average, you will only have to pay five to ten euros. A faecal analysis is a little more expensive, however. That will set you back 15 to 30 euros. The advantage here is that you do not administer any prophylactic medication. Tapeworms and co. are only controlled if they are actually detected in the faeces.

Correctly deworming dogs

Deworming puppies is the key to success given that problems start at an early stage

Many dogs are infected with worms from birth. That’s because some roundworms are already passed on to puppies in the womb. Their larvae encapsulate in the muscles of the of the adult dam and migrate under hormonal influence  to the uterus, where they infect the unborn puppies. Roundworms can also be transmitted after birth via the mother’s milk. This can be fatal in some cases.

Deworming puppies for the first time

According to the recommendation of ESCCAP (European Scientific Counsel Companion Animal Parasites), puppies should be dewormed for the first time at two weeks old. Afterwards, treatment should be repeated every two weeks until two weeks after receiving the last mother’s milk.

Deworming treatment - you don’t have to worry about side effects

Often demonised as “evil chemistry”, deworming treatments are an invaluable asset to animals’ health. Their active ingredients primarily attack structures that only exist in worms as opposed to organisms of other animals or humans. Before being allowed to enter the market, each deworming treatment is subject to years of testing by various authorities for their effectiveness, side effects, safety and tolerability. What’s more, comprehensive scientific data needs to be available when administering the treatment to pregnant and lactating she-dogs as well as puppies.

Reactions to a deworming treatment are possible

In most cases, any potential side effects that may occur are only a temporary gastrointestinal upset. Yet, even though the impact of vermifuges is no longer as debilitating as before, we still need to make it clear that these tablets constitute a chemical substance. The neurotoxin mainly kills worms, but also impairs intestinal flora. Having said that, in the event of worm infestation, you should by no means abstain from a deworming treatment since the health of your dog is at great risk. The ESCCAP advises against administering so-called “natural remedies” to protect against worm infestation. In contrast to officially approved veterinary drugs, neither the effect now safety nor tolerability have been seriously proven here.

Faecal analysis as an alternative to deworming treatment

Puppies need to be dewormed in any case. That’s because faecal analysis does not suffice when it comes to protecting them against infection with roundworms. Adult dogs, on the other hand, may undergo faecal analyses at regular intervals instead of deworming treatment. Only if there are indications of worm infestation does the animal need to be dewormed. However, this method is only appropriate if faeces for the analysis is collected over three consecutive days and examined in the veterinary practice. It is also important that faeces analyses are performed on a regular basis, in other words just as often as the recommended deworming.

A residual risk remains with deworming treatments

The time between infection and the excretion of worm eggs is rather long. That’s because during the development of worms,  eggs still cannot be found in faeces, although the animal is already infected. Hence we cannot rule out that worm eggs will be excreted that very next day despite a normal faecal analysis. Further information and practical tips on the appropriate parasite protection in dogs can be found on the internet at