As a caring pet owner, you’ll know that worms come with the territory, so worming your pet is important. But why should you worm your pet regularly when they seem healthy?

Well, even without showing obvious symptoms, a pet without an appropriate worming treatment plan could be suffering from a worm infection. Furthermore, worms carried by cats and dogs can pose a health risk, not just to the pet in question, but to other animals, and to humans.

Signs aren’t always obvious

The signs aren’t always obvious cats & dogs can appear healthy even when they have worm infections. Detecting infection can be tricky as only worm eggs normally pass into the faeces of the pet not the worms themselves and worm eggs are too small to be easily visible in your pet’s faeces. It is therefore extremely important to speak to your vet about the most appropriate treatment plan for your pet.

Specific signs can vary depending on the worm, but remember that most worm infections will not be obvious in your pet. However some signs may be more general such as:

  • ‘scooting’ – some worms shed segments that could stick to your pet’s bottom and become itchy, so they may drag their bottom along the ground with their back legs. Doing this also means that your pet will be rubbing their infected bottom on your carpet which is unhygienic
  • weight loss
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • a dull, lifeless coat
  • change in appetite (may be increased or decreased depending on the worms present)
  • lack of energy
  • a pot bellied appearance (most commonly seen in puppies and kittens)
  • breathing difficulties
  • any general changes in behaviour

How often should I worm my pet?

All animals are at risk from acquiring worm infections however some animals will be at higher risk than others depending on factors such as your lifestyle and area in which you live. Children are at increased risk of disease from worms; if you have a young family or your pets often come into contact with children, you should pay particular attention to regularly worming your pets.

All animals are recommended to be wormed a minimum of every 3 months, however in many situations your vet may recommend worming more frequently:

Examples of animals who many require more frequent worming include:

  • puppies and kittens
  • hunting cats
  • scavenging dogs
  • animals regularly coming into contact with children
  • farm dogs, particularly those in Wales and The Hebrides
  • animals that are not regularly flea treated
  • pets travelling abroad