Worms in dogs are rare, contrary to the many scary adverts, and most are relatively harmless anyway.
Everyone knows our stance on flea treatments – they’re absolutely unnecessary and potentially very harmful for you and your dog. I strongly advise not to dose a healthy dog with chemical flea treatments.
If your child were to get lice you deal with it. You don’t apply noxious chemicals that if a louse bit them, would drop dead. More here “Why I Don’t Recommend Chemically Worming Dogs“.
Like a possible flea infestation, I don’t concern myself in the slightest with them, nor do most people on the more natural side of things. However, it would be amiss for me to say you should do the same, so below you will find a few natural ways to prevent worms in dogs.
Worms are rare in the Irish Dog population (despite the heavy advertisements)
There are a few worms about in Ireland that can populate your dog. Most are gut worms that, as their name suggests, populate the gut of your dog (namely roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms).
The other type you will hear about is lungworms, which live in the lungs. While rare, this does exist in Ireland. The case I heard of was in a dry-fed lab that consumed enormous amounts of snails each day, likely for protein as it is a common enough incidence in dry-fed dogs but rarely in fresh and raw-fed dogs.
IF your dog eats snails and IF that snail is infected, then yes, lungworm might be something to think about, but I’d actually be thinking about sorting out his diet so he doesn’t go for such a poor quality food item.
Some folk worry about infected snails crawling across food bowls, there’s not much I can say about that except to move swiftly on to the point below.
What are the signs your dog has worms?
- visible worms or eggs in the poop.
- visible worms in fur or around the dog’s bottom..
- scratching or rubbing his bottom.
- visible worms in vomit.
- bloated stomach.
- weakness, increased appetite, constant hunger and weight loss.
- diarrhoea, particularly with blood.
A worm issue in dogs is rarely deadly
While worms are heavily advertised as a “danger” to your dogs, the truth is, should your dog pick up any of the above, it is not going to end his life in minutes, any more than it would in us.
Should you notice an issue (itchy bum, swollen belly, weight loss), you have oodles of time to take action. But before you go nuclear with the chemical worm control, consider the point below
Is there a way to naturally deworm dogs?
I positively loathe over-priced chemical wormers for dogs with no worms. It makes as much sense as horrible chemical flea treatments for dogs with no fleas. Maybe, MAYBE if I found some stubborn worms like lungworm, then yes I’d consider going nuclear but why do it par course?!
There are lots of natural worm preventatives (anti-helminthic’s to give them their real name) that not only do a great job of keeping them away but should they pop up, will kill any and all gut worms.
The thing is, as with most natural treatments, there is little good science on a natural dewormer for dogs. Nobody does good (costly) science unless a dollar can be made so true evidence of the effectiveness of natural therapies is generally woeful.
5 top tips for natural worm treatment for dogs
1. Garlic as a natural dewormer for dogs
Mild natural anti-worm treatments (let’s call them preventatives) include a small amount of fresh garlic every other day (half a clove per 10kg body weight is safe for dogs). Avoid Chinese garlic as it is high in arsenic. Use raw chopped garlic and let it sit for 15 minutes as this releases the beneficial compounds that help to fight off worms and become a natural wormer for dogs.
2. Pumpkin seed oil
is a good preventative, keeping worms from settling in the system. You can find it at Lidl. A while ago, we posted about pumpkin seed oil which is a popular anti-helminthic (among a number of other benefits). You can find it in Lidl, Like the fresh garlic (the original anti-helminthic).
Grinding organic pumpkin seed in a blender is also good as pumpkin seed contains an amino acid called cucurbitin. This amino acid paralyzes worms and eliminates them from your dog’s digestive tract. Make sure the pumpkin seed is fresh as it can go rancid after a couple of weeks.
3. Fermented vegetables
- Fermented vegetables can be a great natural dewormer for dogs. By boosting your pup’s immune system, they may help to be a natural dewormer for dogs.
- We know that 90% of the immune system is in the gut. So adding some fermented vegetables to your dog’s diet can help to improve and maintain his gut health and add defence against parasites.
- You can buy ready-made fermented vegetables or make your own. I would suggest you start slowly and work up to 1-3 tsp per day per 10 kgs of body weight.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Apple cider vinegar has many benefits as a natural dewormer for dogs and creates a more alkaline digestive system that may be less attractive to parasites. You can use raw, organic, unfiltered ACV (with The Mother) and give 1 tsp per day in either his food or water, you can also make your own.
Organic parsley can help as a natural dewormer for dogs, simply chop finely into food (around a tsp per 10 kilos) or cook gently and freeze in ice cubes.
Stronger Natural Wormers For Dogs
The best natural wormer out there, at least the most popular, is VermX. It’s a brilliant product, you can find VermX on Amazon. Check out those reviews, pretty impressive!
For lungworm in dogs, you may need to go nuclear or see a natural vet for some wormwood and black walnut hulls. However, I don’t recommend wandering down this path aimlessly on your own without the necessary hand-holding of a good natural holistic vet.
You can get “faecal egg counts” as a natural dewormer for dogs for as little as €15!!!
Many vets will provide the service of faecal egg counts. This is where you bring a fresh poo sample with you to the vet on check-up day. For as little as €15, the vet will tell you if he has worms or not. If he does, you can decide which way to go. If he doesn’t, you have saved him a more expensive chemical worm treatment.
Irish Equine Centre and Dublin Holistic Vet provide this service in Ireland or you can get it done online from www.wormcount.co.uk in the UK. US, you’re on your own, not sure who does it out there but you can be sure a few companies do.
How to deworm a puppy naturally
Many pups are born with worms and there’s likely a good “exposure” reason for this. It’s thought hormones during pregnancy activate roundworm larvae which may be lying dormant in the bitch and these are then transmitted in all the usual ways. An initial dose of D.E. (diatomaceous earth) will clear this infestation.
Like all the other folk out there who refuse to use chemical treatments as preventatives, I use the natural alternatives above and assume they are doing the job. If she’s unlucky enough to contract something nasty, I’ll deal with it then.
Worm treatment for dogs, conclusion
Maybe I’m lucky but I’m surrounded by hundreds of unwormed dogs here and still no sign of any worms in a healthy adult dog. Most of these owners are well educated on the matter and are likely employing some form of natural remedies for worming dogs.
Still, it would be irresponsible of me to advise you to not worm, it’s up to you but my tuppence worth is this – you simply cannot protect against everything in the world and I’m not going to try.
But please weigh up the chances of infestation and the dangers associated with it with the potential for side effects from a nasty, over-priced chemical worm treatment which is only available with a trip to the vet. Read the packet and note that it says “do not come into contact with skin”.