With their short, stubby legs, paired with overly large eyes and ears and fur as soft as duckling down, puppies are some of the cutest, cuddliest creatures around. Few can resist smiling when watching one of millions of online videos showing playful puppies, let alone picking up one of these precious, tiny little balls of fur. But underneath that adorable, helpless exterior is a gross secret: Almost all puppies have worms, according to VetInfo. If you're in charge of caring for a puppy, you're responsible for taking care of the problem for your newly-born pooch.
Take puppies to the vet
Puppies are usually born with roundworms, and if they're not, they can get worms while nursing. They can also get worms from any nearby dogs. These worms need to be treated, or the puppy could have serious health problems later on. In fact, vets recommend doing the first deworming when the puppies are only two to three weeks old, according to WebMD. Before you do anything to treat your puppy's worms yourself, take your puppy to the vet.
The vet can evaluate your puppy's overall health and conduct a stool sample to look for tapeworms, and she may take a blood sample to test for hookworms. Because severe worm infestations should not be treated at home, it is critical that you have a veterinarian look over your dog before deciding to use home remedies for worms in your puppies. This is particularly true since some worms, like heartworms, cannot be treated at home and can be deadly.
Your vet can also give you advice on administering home remedies so you can make sure you kill the intestinal worms completely and don't put your puppy's health at risk. You'll want to return to your vet after using home remedies for worms in dogs in order to make sure the worms are dead.
Deworming puppies at home
One of the most popular home treatments for worms and fleas in dogs is garlic. It is worth noting that dogs generally do not like the taste of garlic and that giving your dog too much garlic can cause anemia, so you should carefully crush the garlic cloves and mix no more than recommended into your dog's food. You can feed one clove of garlic to your dog per day as long as he weighs over 20 pounds. Feed the garlic to your dog for five days, and then return to the vet to test if the worms are gone.
You can also feed your dog a combination of unsalted pumpkin seeds and wheat germ oil. Finely grind the pumpkin seeds and mix a quarter teaspoon of each for every 15 pounds of your dog's weight. Continue this treatment for several weeks before returning to your vet to test for worms again.
Food-grade diatomaceous earth can also be used for worms other than tapeworms, according to Fab How. Feed your dog 1 tablespoon for every 25 pounds of weight, and visit your vet after a week. You can try a combination of these ingredients for maximum effectiveness since they all pose little danger to a dog's health.
These treatments can be used every three months when your dog doesn't have worms to help prevent infestations, and they can also work alongside a commercial dewormer to fully ensure your dog is free of worms, according to Animal Wised.
Some natural pet sites suggest black walnut, Oregon grape, or wormwood for treating worms in dogs, but these ingredients can be toxic to dogs and should therefore be avoided.
Know the signs
It's important to know the signs of worms if you are deworming your puppies at home. This way, if your dog has worms and they do not respond to your home remedies, you can take the pup to the vet and seek out a commercial medication instead. Signs of worm infestations can include weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, bad breath, and scratching near the base of the tail.
While a healthy adult dog may be able to tolerate a worm infestation for a while without any serious consequences, puppies need to be able to gain weight and fully absorb nutrients in order to grow healthy and strong. As a result, VCA Hospitals says that it is critical that you take a puppy who has lost weight to a vet as soon as possible so he can recover from the infestation quickly.