Those of us who keep a dog as a pet generally know just how important it is to keep them parasite-free. But internal deworming is not always done correctly! This, in addition to being harmful to your pet, can also affect all the family members living with it. Here we will help you identify the seven most common mistakes when trying to deworm your dog and how to prevent them.
- Forgetting to re-administer anti-parasitic medication a few days later
It is often the case that oral anti-parasitics are used as a deworming method. But it is also often forgotten that a second dose must be administered 15 days after the first one; otherwise, the deworming will prove ineffective. The reason is that oral anti-parasitics remain inside your dog’s body only for a few hours, so it is necessary to administer a second dose at least every two weeks to better eliminate internal parasites. Fortunately, there are new internal anti-parasitics for dogs, with sustained-release molecules, that are applied on the skin, remain active for one month, and do not need to be re-administered straight away.
- Administering an anti-parasitic without knowing the dog’s weight
When trying to deworm our pet, we often forget to weigh it, or we do not do so and simply refer to what we think its weight is, or what its weight was when it was last dewormed. This is the main reason that can lead you to underdose or, even worse, to overdose your dog. Please keep in mind that the total dose of an anti-parasitic varies according to the dog’s weight, so it is always important to weigh it first. If for any reason your dog cannot be weighed, it is better to use anti-parasitics having formulations with weight range classification, which ensures that we are administering the right dose.
- Believing that all internal anti-parasitics eliminate all species of parasites
Just as there are various species of parasites, there is also a wide variety of anti-parasitics. Some eliminate roundworms; others eliminate flatworms. The best way to deal with these two species of parasites is to administer so-called “broad-spectrum” anti-parasitics, particularly those that eliminate adult worms and larvae. These anti-parasitics work preventively by not allowing parasites to settle on your dog. In other words, it is not enough to treat your dog if it gets sick: we must prevent it from becoming sick in the first place. There are also other more specific anti-parasitics to eliminate giardias and/or coccidia, but these medications are only administered when we are certain that such parasites are present.
- Believing that a pet is to be dewormed every three or six months or only once a year
Nowadays, our pets interact more with other animals in parks or squares and we also share a closer bond with our pets. These changes in habits make a monthly deworming necessary to prevent the various parasitic diseases that can threaten our dog as well as other family members.
- Administering the anti-parasitic orally, without ensuring that it was swallowed or assimilated properly
It is not unusual that, when trying to deworm our dog, we administer the anti-parasitic orally and the dog returns it, spits it out or throws it up after a while. This happens because many orally administered anti-parasitics have a very bitter taste or are flavored with substances that are not necessarily to your dog’s liking. To prevent this rejection, it is best to choose anti-parasitics that do not need to be digested, such as those applied on the skin and acting inside your pet.
- When keeping more than one pet, deworming only one of them
It is quite common for those keeping more than one pet to deworm only one of them, or to deworm all of them but not all at the same time. This mistake amounts to doing a partial and ineffective deworming, i.e., only an attempt at deworming that puts your pet’s health at risk, as any others that are yet to be dewormed will remain a source of contagion.
- Medicating your pet on your own
This is perhaps the most common mistake. We know that our dog has to be dewormed, but to do so we simply buy an anti-parasitic product without taking the dog to be examined by the vet first. It is important to remember that, during the consultation, the professional examines your pet’s physical condition, weight, and life habits, whether it is living together with children or not, etc. On this basis they can decide which anti-parasitic is best suited for your dog.
To protect your dog from parasites and to stay up to date on your dog’s health plan, always talk to your primary care vet.