Dog and cat intestinal worms can cause disease not only in pets, but also in the people who love and care for them every day. There are four types of intestinal worms that can affect dogs and cats: roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and whipworms.

Heartworm should be considered separately from intestinal worms. They cause a very different disease and have a different life cycle. Many products for intestinal worms do not treat heartworm. It is essential for pet owners to be aware of the differences between intestinal worms and heartworm so that they can treat their pets correctly for all types of worms.

How can my pets get worms?

Dogs and cats usually become infected when they consume the larvae or eggs of worms by sniffing and licking the ground, licking themselves or other pets, or sniffing and licking feces. However, there are several other ways they can pick up worms:

  • Animals can pick up worms in a variety of ways.
  • Dogs and cats become infected from eating the larvae or eggs of worms.
  • Dogs and cats may come in contact with the larvae or eggs of worms when sniffing and licking the ground, licking themselves or other pets, or sniffing and licking feces.
  • Worms can also be passed onto puppies from their mother before they are born or while they are suckling.
  • Tapeworms are transmitted through consuming fleas when pets are grooming themselves or other pets.

A good worm-control program for pets should include the following steps:

  1. Maintain a regular and effective worm control program.
  2. Treat puppies and kittens with a reputable worm product starting from 2 weeks of age.
  3. Treat adult pets against roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms at least every three months.
  4. Clean up after your pet and dispose of feces carefully in the bin.
  5. Do not allow your pet to sniff or eat feces.
  6. Prevent tapeworms by using flea treatment regularly, as fleas can carry tapeworm eggs.
  7. Wash and disinfect food and water bowls regularly and ensure housing is regularly cleaned and disinfected to kill worms and eggs. Use a disinfectant that is safe for animals.
  8. Pregnant animals should only be wormed under the supervision of a vet as some products are not safe for pregnant animals.
  9. Wash your hands thoroughly before you eat.
  10. Do not allow pets to consume offal from farm animals, as this may contain the dangerous hydatid tapeworm.