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Dogs and Treating Common Parasites at Home, Part 1: Common Intestinal Worms

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Written By Marisa Gordon,  9/18/2011,  © MUSLOVEDOGS.COM
You may link to this article but it is not for reproduction without the explicit permission from the author.
DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE BEFORE FOLLOWING ANY ADVICE - this works for my dogs, it may not work for yours.

Dogs and Treating Common Parasites at Home

Part 1. Common Intestinal Worms

I recently had a client out to pick up a puppy and they were asking about what they could do for their pup a home. My mantra as many of you know is to educate yourself as much as you can in regard to your dogs health. Use your vet as a resource, but make sure you understand exactly what is going on so you an make the best decisions for your animals. I am going to walk through some things below, but you also need to do your own due diligence before you start treating your dogs and pups, make sure you understand the risks associated with each drug and make sure you are ready to deal with the consequences of giving it. Generally speaking you shouldn’t have a problem. But the doesn’t mean you won’t ever see one. I am not a Vet- but I have learned a lot through trial and error and I hope that explaining some of this opens your eyes and interests you enough so you want to learn more.

I talked about the different types of parasites in another article (Your Puppy and It’s Health). These are the main ones you need to worry about, plus one more, the heartworm. If you want to understand what these are (hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, tapeworms and the protozoa’s - Coccida and Giarda, please read this).


Common Dewormers


Safeguard/Panacur (fenbendazole)

This treats all 4 types of worms (minus the wild type of tapeworm) as well as Giarada. You need to treat for 3 days in a row for this to be effective. They sell so many different versions of it – and it used to be only the vet’s had panacur (in fact I had a small animal vet one who did not even know what Safeguard was), but I found they are now selling it for horses at a higher price. Panacur and Safeguard are one and the same and are even sold by the same company!

The cheapest way to do it and dose it correctly for small dogs is to use the liquid version of safeguard - it’s called safeguard for goats… and you can purchase it online in different levels – but the dosage I use is 1 mL per 4lbs of body weight. On the safeguard website it says the dosage is 22.7 mg per each lb of bodyweight for treatment. The goat dewormer has 100mg of fenbenzdzole in each mL of safeguard. There for 22.7*4 = 0.908 mL is needed to treat 4lbs. I round up to 1.00 mL to make sure I don’t underdose the pup. Safeguard is VERY safe and as long as your dog or pup doesn’t have a heavy load of worms, it won’t hurt them even if you overdose 10 times the normal amount.

For large dogs I use Safeguard for livestock; it is the same concentration as for goats, but in a paste form. For the kennel I purchase a cattle tube of it. For a single dog I might purchase the single horse sized tube. Since the horse dose is the same as the dog dose – IE you will treat a 100lbs of equine with the same dose as you would treat 100lbs of dog, you can pretty much guesstimate how much to give your dog. It is demarked on the tube at 250lbs intervals. Once again you want to get as close to the dose as you need, but as long as your dog is NOT riddled with a heavy load of worms, it shouldn’t cause issues. IF your dog is in fact carrying a heavy load or you really don’t know, start with a very small dose and treat for 5 days rather than 3, then repeat again in about 2 weeks at the normal dose. If carrying a heavy load, the safeguard itself will not kill the dog, rather the toxicity caused by the worms dying off in the dogs body could.

Safeguard also treats giarda (protoza) effectively – once again the recommended dose is 3 days, but I would treat for at least 5 for giarda.


Safeguard Liquid Dewormer

Safeguard Liquid Dewormer comes in sizes from 125ml upwards of 1000ml and usually ranges in cost from $16 to over $100 for the largest size (can also purchase gallon jugs of it at over $500). To get the different sizes you will have to search online. Tractor supply company usually carries if the 125ml if you need it in a pinch.


Safeguard Paste Dewormer

Safeguard Paste Dewormer comes in horse tubes starting at 25 grams upwards of 290 grams in a large cattle tube. You have to purchase a metal gun and each depression will give you enough paste to treat 250lbs of animal. With my dogs I will often prepare it ahead of time – and basically divide it up either in halves or thirds depending on their approximate weight. Make sure you get it all in their mouth – it doesn’t really have much taste – they just don’t like it either way…


Safeguard Granules for Dogs


They also sell safeguard for dogs, but it is A LOT more expensive this way. The dosage is all set for you on the package (and they sell a few different packages depending on the weight range your dog fits in) – but for your own knowledge the concentration of fenbenzdzole is more the twice the amount in the dog dewormer than in the above dewormers (22% to 10%), so technically the amount they get is less, but it doesn’t matter, it still costs a whole lot more to treat this way, regardless. You can purchase a small tube of horse dewormer for under $10 and it will treat a 100lb dog for 4 three-day treatments. The dog stuff only treats for a single 3 day treatment. The tube is generally enough to treat a 100lb dog for a year. I will talk about a treatment cycle I might recommend below.


Pyrantel Pomoate/Strongid/Nemotate/Nemex

Pyrantel treats both roundworms and hookworms. These are the two most common type of worms in dogs. They pick them up outside from the ground and puppies also get the the eggs through their mothers milk. If you think your dog has worms, be sure to pick up his or her stool so as to reduce the amount of eggs getting into the ground. They will just keep reinfecting themselves if you don't. Eventually you should break the cycle though if you do.

The dose for pyrantel is a lot harder to figure out – mostly because each suspension seems to be different. (IE how many milligrams of the drug is in each milliliter of the fluid). I’m going to go based on a popular version of it that I can get at Tractor Supply that says it has 4.54mg of pyrantel pomoate per mL of liquid. 5mL of that treats 10lbs, therefore it takes (5*4.54)/10 = 2.27mg of pyrantel is needed to treat each pound of dog.

It depends on the base – when I say that – how many milligrams of the drug (in this case pyrantel) is included in each milliter of it. Many of the products you purchase at that pet store will have the correct dosage for your dog based on weight. But basically 2.27 mg of pyrantel is need to treat each pound of dog – how many milliters of a liquid you will need to give depends on how many mg’s are diluted in each ML.

I myself have a product by Columbia Laboratories that has 50mg of pyrantel in each mL. So it takes just shy of half a CC or 0.5ML for me to treat 10lbs of dog, whereas the stuff I would buy at TSC it would take 5ML of the stuff. I believe the one from TSC has 250 ML, and this one has 473 ML. The one from TSC will treat 500lbs of dog. The other will treat, are you ready for this…. 9,460 lbs of dog. And it’s cheaper – you can purchase 16oz online for about $16 whereas the stuff at TSC is usually around $20. But it’s not labeled for dogs – in fact it’s labeled for HUMANS because it treats pinworms…. Make sure you understand the dosage and how to treat and you do your due diligence before using it. There are many brand different brands that have the pyrantel pamoate drug in it – but if they can charge you for a “name” they will. Some include Nemex and Strongid. Their active ingredient is PYRANTEL. Trust me, the cheapest one will work just as well as the most expensive one as long as you use the right dose. I have tried them all.

Tradewinds Worm Protector 
Purchased at TSC                
Columbia Laboratories


This, like Safeguard is a fairly safe drug for dogs – but don’t overdose if you think your animal may be carrying a heavy wormload. Once again, it’s not usually the drug itself that will cause a reaction, but the fact that the worms die off and can make the animal sick.


Droncit/Drontal (PRAZIQUANTEL)

You really shouldn’t need to give your dog this unless you think it has tapeworms and safeguard hasn’t treated it. How can you tell if you dog has tapeworms? It will have little segments in it’s stool – very flat rice sized white segments. Round worms and hook worms look like spaghetti. With tapeworms little segments break off and go into the stool and that is what you see. If you dog has fleas you should also treat for tapeworms. The fleas can carry the tapeworm larva and when the dog ingests the fleas, it starts the lifecycle.

While Safeguard treats for one of the more common tapeworms, Droncit treats for all tapeworms and Drontal actually treats for EVERYTHING. It is a fairly expensive drug, but treating once, if your dog is on an effective flea treatment should break the cycle.

You can order it online and the dosage is pretty straightforward or if you take a stool sample into your vet and they should be willing to treat your dog for you. It’s the one drug where if I was just treating one dog I wouldn’t have a problem working with the vet, especially after a positive stool sample and trying to treat with safeguard first.

Drontal combines praziquantel (kills all tapeworms) with pyrantel (kills roundworms and hookworms) and febantel (kills whipworms).



This is an active ingredient in some dewormers – and while it’s fine, it only treats roundworms. I personally don’t see a use for it in my dogs and pups because of the other things out there.





Recommended schedule for treating intestinal parasites in an adult dog or puppy that has already been on intestinal worm preventative


Safeguard – once every 3 months, for 3 days in a row each time.

Pyrantel – monthly, except for the months where safeguard is used

Drontal – only as needed, after a positive stool sample for tapeworms if safeguard doesn’t kill the tapeworm, substitute using it for one month of the safeguard or use droncit

At least once a year as part of your dogs yearly checkup I would take a stool sample into your vet and have it checked, just to make sure everything is clear. It will make you feel good to know you are treating your dog right.

Costs for a 100lb dog on average:
Safeguard and Pyrantel for 2 Years $40. Yearly cost: $20
Drontal - $30, only as needed (and maybe not at all)

Costs for treating a 50lb dog on average
Safeguard and Pyrantel for 2 Years $30. Yearly cost: $15
Drontal - $16, only as needed (and maybe not at all)




Recommendations for a new dog or puppy:


When you bring a new puppy (or even older dog home) I would HIGLY suggest, even if you don’t do anything else, you take a stool sample into your vet (they will usually analyze without seeing the dog for under $20) and that way they can either prescribe this stuff or you can know what you need to get and treat your animal for. Once again, do your due diligence and if you understand what you are dealing with, it really isn’t all that scary or that hard to keep your animal healthy in this regard.


PART 2 Coming Soon: HEARTWORMS!!!





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