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Understanding the Worming Regime for Newborn Puppies and their Mothers

Pregnant Bitches

Unlike most mammals, puppies pick up intestinal roundworms from their mothers through the placenta. They are therefore born with worms already present. For this reason, worming pregnant bitches is essential. It will not completely eradicate transfer of worms to the puppy, but will drastically reduce it. Pregnant bitches should be treated from day 40 of pregnancy to 2 days post-birth with a wormer containing fenbendazole, or with whichever wormer your vet recommends. After this they can return to a three-monthly worming regime. 

  • Not all products are suitable for use in pregnancy; always consult your veterinary surgeon for advice regarding suitable products to use during the pregnancy

Do not forget to regularly treat your bitch for fleas, as the flea is the intermediate host of the common tapeworm Dipylidium. In addition, fleas can cause severe anaemia in puppies. Check with your vet which flea products are safe to use for your dog during pregnancy and while nursing. 

Worming puppies

In young puppies worming is essential from 2 weeks of age. As mentioned, the pups may have been infected in the uterus (before birth) and will soon ingest worms in the mother’s milk and from the mother’s faeces if the mother is carrying an infestation also.

  • Roundworms can infect humans

  • They can cause blockages in the puppies’ intestinal systems

  • Therefore, active worming is essential.

Wormers containing fenbendazole are available for puppies from 2 weeks of age, covering the following worms:

  • Gastro-intestinal tapeworms (Taenia spp).

  • Gastro-intestinal roundworms (Toxocara canis)

  • Hookworms (Uncinaria spp. & Ancylostoma caninum)

  • Whipworms (Trichuris vulpis)

  • Giardia infections (Giardia spp.)

Puppies should be wormed every two weeks from 2 weeks of age until 12 weeks of age, and then every month until the puppy is 6 months of age when they can be treated as adults (wormed every 3 months).