Best Dog Dewormer: How To Choose The Right One For Your Puppy

Intestinal parasites are one of the gross things that dog owners just have to deal with. Unfortunately, worms are easy for dogs to get and can be spread to people if proper hygiene is not practiced. Regular deworming is recommended for all dogs, but it is especially necessary for puppies.

Puppies are typically born with a roundworm burden that is acquired in the womb or early in life, so pretty much all puppies must be dewormed. This may need to be repeated several times in order to kill all of the worms at various life stages.

Not all products are safe for young puppies, so it is important to be sure that the product you choose is appropriate for your dog’s age and size.

Preventing Reinfestation

After you worm your dog, you will need to prevent reinfestation. The best way to do this is to keep the environment clean and prevent access to feces or animal carcasses. Pick up after your dog in the yard promptly, don’t visit dog parks with large amounts of feces lying around, and don’t let your dog roam off-leash in areas where he or she might find infected animal carcasses. Tapeworms are spread by fleas, so using an effective flea preventative will protect against your dog getting tapeworms again.

It is worth noting that none of these products work on heartworm. Heartworm is transmitted by mosquito bite, and there are currently no OTC products that can be used to treat or prevent it. If you are concerned about heartworm, your veterinarian can perform a blood test and provide you with preventative medications.

Proper Timing of Worming

The Companion Animal Parasite Council recommends that puppies be dewormed every two weeks from ages 2 weeks to 2 months of age. Depending on when you get your puppy, the last one or two wormings on this schedule may be up to you. After two months of age, deworming is recommended monthly until 6 months of age.

Older pups should be dewormed every three months, according to the Companion Animal Parasite Council. However, some prescription flea and tick or heartworm medications also include a component that gets rid of intestinal parasites. If you aren’t sure, ask your veterinarian so that you don’t accidentally deworm a dog that is already on a deworming product.

If worms are suspected, a fecal float test can be done at your veterinarian. However, it is common practice to assume that puppies have worms, since almost all of them do. Not all products kill all types of worms, though, and puppies are most commonly infected with roundworms. If they have a different type of worms, they may need a different deworming product.

Over-the-Counter Dewormers

Many dewormers are prescription products that require a veterinarian to dispense, but there are also a number of OTC products. If you choose to use an OTC product, never use one on a puppy that is visibly ill.

If money is an issue, it may be possible to have a vet diagnose your pup and then purchase an OTC dewormer if indicated. There are many online pet supply shops where you can purchase both prescription and OTC pet meds to save money.

However, if your pup is ill in addition to worms, or actually has something else wrong with it, using an OTC dewormer might not be safe. So keep that in mind.

These are the seven best OTC dewormers for dogs:

#1

Safeguard 4

  • Main active ingredient: Fenbendazole
  • Minimum age: 6 weeks

Proper use:

This product kills tapeworms, roundworms, whipworms, and hookworms. However, it only kills one species of tapeworm, and there are multiple types that commonly infect dogs.

The dosing schedule on this product is a little different than some because it must be given for three days in a row. Each three-day period is considered one deworming. It also recommends that pups be dewormed every two weeks until 12 weeks of age, and then at least twice a year.

Safeguard 4 comes as three pouches of granules that are mixed into your pup’s food. You may need to use wet food or moisten kibble in order to ensure that the medication stays on the food.

Each pouch treats either 10, 20, or 40 pounds, depending on the version of the product you buy. You must weigh your pup in order to determine the proper dosage. Because the packages are mixed and matched to dose pups of various sizes, you may have to buy more than one box.

#2

Nemex 2

  • Main active ingredient: Pyrantel pamoate
  • Minimum age: 2 weeks

Proper use:

This product is effective against large roundworms (two species) and hookworms (one species). It is not effective against either whipworms or tapeworms.

This is a liquid that is dosed at 1 tsp per 10 pounds of body weight. The product is supposedly palatable and can be given directly. Unlike older dewormers, there is no need to withold food before using, though, so it may be mixed in food if that is necessary for your dog to accept it.

This product recommends deworming puppies every two weeks until 10 weeks of age. It is a popular dewormer to start puppies on because it can be used at such a young age.

#3

Durvet Triple Wormer

  • Main active ingredient: Pyrantel pamoate/praziquantel
  • Minimum age: 12 weeks

Proper use:

This product is effective against roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms. It is not effective against whipworms, however.

There are two versions of the product. Each box contains 12 chewable tablets, but one is for dogs and puppies weighing at least 6 pounds but not more than 25 pounds, and the other is for larger dogs. Be sure to weigh your dog and choose the appropriate dosage.

They recommend that you follow a dosing schedule provided by your veterinarian.

#4

Panacur C

  • Main active ingredient: Fenbendazole
  • Minimum age: 6 weeks

Proper use:

This product is effective against roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. However, it effective against only one species of tapeworm, and there are several species that commonly infect dogs.

There are different sized packages available for treating dogs of different sizes. Each package contains three packets of either 1 gram, 2 grams, or 4 grams. It may be necessary to mix and match packages in order to find your dog’s size. For example, a 30-pound dog is dosed using one 2 gram package and one 1 gram package.

Paracur C is a granule/powder that is mixed with your dog’s normal food. You might need to add a little water to kibble in order to make sure that it sticks. The product must be given for three days in a row. They recommend deworming every two weeks from 6 to 12 weeks of age.

#5

Bayer Quad Dewormer

  • Main active ingredient: Praziquantel/pyrantel pamoate/febentel
  • Minimum age: 3 weeks

Proper use:

This product kills roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Unlike other products, it will kill two species of tapeworms that commonly infect dogs. The three drugs make it a relatively full-spectrum dewormer.

There are three versions of this product, each of which comes as 4 chewable tablets. It comes in a version for dogs 2-25 pounds, 26-60 pounds, and 45 pounds and over. Each of the tablets is scored so that you can break them in half to give your dog the proper dose.

Although this product can be given to very young puppies, they must weigh at least 2 pounds. Bayer recommends following your veterinarian’s advice for how often you should deworm your dog.

#6

Sentry HC WormX Plus

  • Main active ingredient: Pyrantel pamoate/praziquantel
  • Minimum age: 12 weeks

Proper use:

This product is effective against roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms. It is not effective against whipworms.

Each package contains 12 tablets that may be combined to achieve the proper dose for your dog. Dogs must weigh at least 6 pounds in order to use this product. There are two version of the product available, one for dogs under 25 pounds and one for dogs over 25 pounds.

The tablets are chewable and can be given with food, if necessary.

#7

Bayer Tapeworm Dewormer

  • Main active ingredient: Praziquantel
  • Minimum age: 4 weeks

Proper use:

This product is a targeted drug that works only against tapeworms. It is the ideal product to use if you know that your dog has only tapeworms, or if you are preventatively treating a flea-infested dog.

It is given as either whole or half tablets, depending on your dog’s size. Unlike many products, there is no minimum size. Dogs under 5 pounds take half a tablet. The box contains 5 tablets, which is a single dose for dogs over 60 pounds or up to 10 doses for dogs under 5 pounds.

Important Things to Remember

  • Never deworm a dog that is sick, even if you think worms are causing the illness. Always get a proper diagnosis from a veterinarian first.
  • Always weigh your dog before giving them a dewormer. Puppies grow fast, and you want to give them just the right amount.
  • Never give a dewormer to a dog that is younger than the minimum age on the package.
  • Don’t worm your puppy more than every two weeks unless instructed to by a veterinarian.
  • Have your dog tested a few weeks after the end of your deworming protocol to ensure that the worms are actually all gone.
  • If your dog is on any other medication, ask your veterinarian before administering a dewormer.
  • Don’t use a product that doesn’t have a security seal and a stamped expiration date on the package. This will help you avoid counterfeit products.

Lastly, please remember, getting the best dog dewormer doesn’t mean it’s best for your dog. Getting the right one will be a lot more effective than the best one.