Most dog owners will be well acquainted with worms - and if not, be prepared to get acquainted. Icky as they may be, these parasites are a fact of life for many canines though they don't have to be. Here are five things to know about dogs, worms and how to treat them:
They don't always show symptoms...
Just because it sounds like you should be able to see worms, it doesn't mean you can. Many dogs with worms appear to be in fine health, while in reality they're suffering internally. This is just one of many reasons to ensure you take your dog to the vet for regular check-ups.
...but the symptoms can also be dramatic
In some dogs, worms will rear their ugly head through sudden weight loss, a dry or scaly coat, a pot-bellied appearance or vomiting and diarrhoea. In really bad cases, dogs can experience difficulty breathing. Always be on the lookout for any strange behaviour in your pup.
Butt-scooting doesn't always mean worms
We all know what 'butt-scooting' is - that strange, almost cartoon-like action of a dog rubbing its behind along the ground. But a common misconception is that this always signifies worms. In reality, scooting is symptomatic of a number of possible issues, including allergies, skin infections and other issues.
Puppies need more worm care than adult dogs
When raising a young pup, regular worming should be a part of the routine. Most puppies between the ages of 4 and 12 weeks need to be given a worm dose every fortnight because of their underdeveloped immune system. If you're unsure how often you should be administering a worm dose, check in with your local vet.
Every dog is different
There's no catch-all cure for worms - how you treat worms depends on where you are in the world, what kind of dog you have, their lifestyle and other health issues. Over-the-counter methods don't always work either. When in doubt, consult your vet for the best option for your specific four-legged friend.