The Importance of Worming Your Pet

The importance of worming a pet can not be over-stated.  It is essential for a healthy, happy pet and not something that you can neglect to do.  

There are few things as adorable as a kitten or puppy wobbling around with a pudgy belly full of warm milk. Most people know that the extended stomach is a sign of worms, and that is why it’s common to worm domesticated animals when they’re young. The problem is that many pet owners think that worming stops there.

Why Worming Is Essential for Healthy, Happy Pets

Worming is Important

Animals can contract worms at any age, so routine worming is recommended well beyond the puppy or kitten days. Take a look at some of the most common types of worm infestations experienced by dogs and cats and their potential health implications:

  • Roundworms – This is the most common worm found in dogs and cats, especially as babies. They can cause vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and that extended stomach that you may think is so cute on a puppy. Coughing is common when the worms make their way to the lungs. They roam throughout the intestines and can grow up to six inches long. When left untreated, they cause severe illness and possibly death.
  • Tapeworms – Flat worms that separate into small pieces, which often resemble pieces of rice. The worms attach to the intestines and are often noticed around a pet’s anus. While dogs may scoot on the ground or rub their backside on furniture due to irritation from these worms, many infestations present no obvious symptoms. In cats, tapeworms often cause vomiting and weight loss.
  • Lungworms – These worms breed and live in the lungs and can cause respiratory problems. This isn’t the most common type of worms for dogs today, but it’s something to be aware of if your dogs spend a lot of time outdoors.
  • Heartworms – Heartworm infestations are considered a serious disease and may cause damage to the heart and lungs when left untreated. This is the most common type of worming that adult dogs receive today, and preventative treatment may protect your dog from some other types of worms as well.
  • Hookworms – These worms are more common in dogs but can infest cats as well. They feed on an animal’s blood and are known to cause severe anemia. When left untreated, hookworms can cause the death of your pet.
  • Whipworms – Whipworms will eventually cause diarrhea, but that may not occur until your dog is already seriously infested. This is one of the more serious infestations that may lead to death.

You can probably see some of the most important reasons to worm your pets just by reading those descriptions. Worms feed off of your pet’s blood, intestines or other body parts. They steal nutrients from your pet’s food, leaving your dog or cat anemic and malnourished. They can get into the lungs and cause coughing and breathing problems. They may even infest the heart and cause serious disease that may eventually take your pet’s life.

Can Your Pet Give You Worms?

While worms don’t always behave the same inside a human’s body, it is possible to contract worms from your dog or cat. In most cases, you must ingest the worms or larvae for this to happen, so children who play in the dirt outside or put objects from the ground in their mouths are more at risk. In some cases, an infestation can lead to serious illness and even blindness. Treatment in humans isn’t always as simple as it is in dogs and cats, so it’s always easier to keep your pets wormed than to worm yourself.

Products I Recommend:

For my pets, I use a product called Paratrex from Global Healing Center as well as Natures Sunshine's PAU D'ARCO LIQUID.  these are excellent to keep pets healthy and worm-free! 

How Often Should Your Worm Your Pet?

This is something to discuss with your vet because your pet may have special medical concerns or heightened risks due to their living environment, daily habits, age, and other factors. In general, puppies and kittens are often wormed every two weeks for the first three months of life and then once a month until they are six months old. Treatment for heartworms should continue on a routine basis just as you likely treat your pets to prevent fleas and ticks.

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