Pyrantel for puppies and adult dogs is used as a dewormer to treat stomach worms, hookworms, and roundworms. Most puppies are born with intestinal worms and pyrantel pamoate is a safe and effective treatment. It is sold under several brand names including Nemex and Strongid and is also included in some combination wormers including heartworm preventatives.
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When to deworm dogs
Most puppies are born with worms and adult dogs may also get worms from the feces of an infected animal. Some dogs may display symptoms such as diarrhea, coughing, and anemia while other dogs may show no symptoms of worms at all. Your veterinarian can examine and test your dog's stool to determine if he is infected and what type of worm he has.
Pyrantel pamoate is an effective dewormer if your dog has hookworms, roundworms, or stomach worms but it will not effectively treat whipworms or tapeworms. Pyrantel is safe to use in puppies that are at least two weeks old and pregnant or nursing dogs.
How to use pyrantel pamoate
Pyrantel dewormer is available in chewable tablet, capsule, and liquid form. If you opt for the liquid form, be sure to shake the bottle well before giving the medication. Follow the pyrantel pamoate dosage instructions from your veterinarian that are based on your dog's weight. You can give the medication at any time, including with a meal.
You will usually need to give your dog two to three doses of pyrantel approximately two weeks apart. This is because the dewormer only targets worms in your dog's intestines and not any worms in the larvae stage that have yet to migrate to the intestine. If you miss a dose, be sure to wait the recommended amount of time before giving the next dose to prevent any possibility of an overdose.
Puppy dewormer risks
Pyrantel works within an hour or two and stops working after about 24 hours. Pyrantel pamoate side effects in dogs are usually mild and short-lived if they occur. Some potential side effects include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. This may be a reaction to your dog trying to pass the worms from his system. If the symptoms are severe or don't subside, reach out to your veterinarian.
In rare cases, your dog's intestines may become impacted when they try to pass the worms. This may happen if your pet has a lot of parasites and is more common in smaller dogs.
Follow the instructions from your veterinarian and do not continue to give the medication beyond the recommended time frame. Dogs that regularly continue to consume the dewormer can experience pyrantel pamoate overdose after a couple of months. Be sure to secure medication out of reach of your pets, especially chewable tablets that your dog may consider a treat. Contact your veterinarian, the Pet Poison Helpline, or the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center if you suspect an overdose.
Pyrantel precautions and contraindications
Do not give your dog pyrantel if he is frail or has had an allergic reaction to the medication in the past. Pets with liver or kidney problems may not process the medication as quickly as healthy pets, so be sure to discuss this with your veterinarian.
Unless specifically instructed to do so, do not mix pyrantel with any other dewormers. Some other medications used to treat parasites including levamisole, morantel, and piperazine may cause a negative reaction when combined with pyrantel. Additionally, take extra care to keep your dog away from organophosphates, a type of pesticide, during treatment as it may also cause an adverse reaction.
After treatment, worms may be visible in your dog's feces, and in some cases, they may still be moving. The worms will die quickly without a host, but be sure to clean up after your dog and wash your hands as many worms can also be passed to humans.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
- University of Minnesota: Veterinary Preventative Medicine, 5. Parasite Control
- Pet Poison Helpline: Emergency Instructions
- ASPCA: Animal Poison Control
- University of California, Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program: Intestinal Parasite Control Guidelines
- VCA Hospitals: Pyrantel Pamoate
- Mar Vista Animal Medical Center: Pyrantel Pamoate